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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I hope you'll bear with my newbie questions. I'm a bit nervous today--a business colleague and long-time motorcycle rider was killed over the weekend in a crash and I've not been on any motorized two-wheeler since a moped in Key West a few years back. And doesn't it seem when you tell people you're getting a bike, EVERYONE has to tell you horror stories about bikes?! :shock:

I think I'm trying to do everything right about this bike and how we handle it. The right equipment (full-face helmets, body-armor jackets, gloves, boots, etc.) and attitude, but...So I'm nervous though happy, very happy to getting this beautiful bike and having an opportunity to ride it.

Today, I'm going to the dealer to get some seat time in before picking up my new Burgie 400 on Saturday. I want to practice handling it a bit in the parking lot this evening and am aiming to gain some familiarity with it before heading out on Saturday. I want to practice, too, getting the bike up on the main stand without dumping it.

Any other tips for what I should try to do this evening? Or even Saturday before I ride it home? (I do plan to ride it around in a big empty parking lot or neighborhood (nearby) before heading home.

Thanks so much,

Bryna
 

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I am sure there are a ton of pieces of advise we could give you. But I will give just a few that have worked for me.

1) Be aware of EVERYTHING. The weather, the wind, your mood, the little dog crossing the street...everything! :shock:

2) When you are on the bike (and even before) be with the bike and the road mentally. Your mind cannot wander when you are riding. :roll:

3) Assume that anyone in a car CANNOT see you and is an idiot. That guy creeping up to the stop sign WILL pull out in front of you. :evil:

4) Listen to and respect your bike. You will learn the little noises and quirks and be aware of your bike's mood. :wink:

5) Look at everything, listen to everything, but most importantly...ENJOY THE RIDE!!!! :p

Hope that helps! Lil Zen for ya.
 

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Bryna,

Sign up for a Motorcyle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course as soon as possible. Proper protective attire is important, as you noted. But the proper riding skills are even more important. With the proper preparation and attitude, you can minimize your risks a great deal.

I always wonder why people don't tell you about folks injured in auto accidents, when you talk about buying a car....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, guys!

Thanks for the great advice! Paul, yeah we (Lynn and I) wondered about the car thing, too. She says some of it's jealousy--that we're doing something they dream about doing. I guess some is just human nature. :roll:

We are indeed both signed up for the MSF course and will take the Advancec course(s) as soon as we're allowed (I think it's 6 months allowed after the beginners' course.) We want to be safe, visible and good riders! :) Everyone who does ride has suggested that course and we knew we were taking it before we even decided on the Burgie.

ZenDan, thanks for the "lil zen"--anything helps! And I do hear you and Jim re: being a target and being ultra-aware. That was one of the things I loved about being on my old Honda scooter--the need to focus on everything. For me, it made the experience more enjoyable, yet more challenging in a good way. I'm like that even on a bicycle, too. :D

Thanks again for all your advice!

Bryna
P.S. We've already begun reading David Hough's excellent "Proficient Motorcycling" and have scoured all the cycling mags for similar articles.
 

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Sounds like you two are on the right track, and I think you are really going to enjoy riding the Burgman.

The "focus" is what makes two wheeled touring (even day trips) so much more vivid than doing the same ride in a cage (cage = car, truck, SUV).

In a cage, you are isolated from your surroundings. On two wheels, you see, hear, feel and smell your surroundings in a way you never could in a cage. Part of that is due to heightened focus, and the other part is because you are not surrounded by a box.

It really does impart a feeling of freedom. Ride safe, and enjoy!
 

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Perhaps it's just me, but in all the years I have been riding there is one item I don't hear much about and did not see it in the above posts which do cover almost everything.
I'm a bit nervous today
. What I am talking about is that to this day I am a bit nervous every time I go out for a ride, and if the day comes when I am not that may be the day I quit. <s>
 

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Randy said:
I am a bit nervous every time I go out for a ride, and if the day comes when I am not that may be the day I quit. <s>
I live in a Seacoast commuity where you have to fight to get to open riding country. Ive been riding since 14 yo, and I still act like its a battle - they are all around me and out to get me.

I have started wearing a Lime Visibelt - something I would never have done in my dumb young days - not cool. But I dont need to be cool. I can tell it makes a difference with the new 16 year old drivers that have a cell phone permanently stuch to their ear. One girl almost creamed me, and then another, till I pulled up and said to her, "baby, you cant do two things well, you can even do one thing well, put down the phone. She cussed me like a turkish trooper. I said, "At least get a heasdset so as not to be so obvious?

then there';s the suburban ladies piloting HUGE SUVS they have no business driving. Backing over small trashcans and animals.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent points

Randy, thanks for your "nervous" comment. Reading it helped me this morning. Last night, I nearly dropped the bike and didn't get to actually ride it because I accidently throttled it and nearly hit other bikes. :oops: The shop owner had his son, who was training me, cut the engine for the session. (Maybe it didn't help that we were doing this on a slight incline and pretty close to other bikes.) Did master getting the center stand down and up, though the down part is tricky for me 'cause I'm only 5'1". (I can leg-press 600lbs. so the up part came a bit easier. :wink: )

ABM, your thoughtful (and colorful) comments echoed those of Jim yesterday about watching out for "them." In this area, we've got too many soccer moms in Expeditions and Tahoes they have no right to be behind the wheels of.

Where did you get your lime Vizbelt? Does it go over your jacket like a vest? (FYI: My grandfather grew up in Salem before migrating to Brooklyn, NY.)

Thanks again,

Bryna
 

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Welcome to the board Invinscum --

At this point the best thing you can do is to take the MSF course, which will teach you the basic, but highly necessary and often overlooked aspects of street riding and street survival skills - there is plenty to it, so sign-up right away!

Outside of that, it's all about minimizing risk. That begins with the basic knowledge and operation of your bike so that its operation is "second nature" to you - that leaves nearly all your concentration focused upon your surroundings where it belongs. At this early stage, do plenty of practice in low traffic areas.

Minimizing risk in the broader sense: Avoid high traffic all together for the first few months, work your way into that environment a little bit at a time only, and practice at times that are well outside of "rush hours." Note that evening hours on the weekends are higher risk times due to the teenagers and other impaired driving population that permeate the streets especially after dark on weekends.

Perhaps the most dangerous environment for a motorcyclist (or perhaps any motorist all together) would be the intersections, where the traffic converges. If I am not mistaken, Intersections are where most motor accidents occur, with good and obvious reason. If you stand at a busy intersection on any day, you will be surprised to see how many times in one day, dozens and dozens, people running the red light.

There is an abundance of other good information on this web page:

http://www.msgroup.org/DISCUSS.asp

Hope that helps.
 

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Re: Excellent points

Invincsum said:
Where did you get your lime Vizbelt? Does it go over your jacket like a vest? (FYI: My grandfather grew up in Salem before migrating to Brooklyn, NY.)

Thanks again,

Bryna
I got it from a safety equipement company, I forget who. It is a crisscross belt, like a crossing guard. High Viz lime and scotchlite reflective. Im sure Aerostitch has something like it.

Teeneage drivers, hand them a new car, a new license,a nd a cell phone = dissaster.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
MSgroup.org

Thanks, migz123 for the tip and link to this site. Lynn and I have both bookmarked it, and I've found the articles to be extremely valuable already. (OK, so I'm still a bit embarrassed about nearly dumping the bike and such, but the writers there insist that it's not a "sin". I'll live with it.)

The dealer has offered to delivery the bike to us--30-plus miles one way--at no extra charge, and I'd be stupid not to take them up in this generous and considerate offer. (And I've been called a lot of things but stupid ain't one of them and neither is stubborn. :D ) I will indeed avoid heavily travelled areas until I get my bearings--the last thing I want to do is be a menace to myself or others!

Rest assured, I'll continue to ask questions and understand my limitations and do my fellow Burgman owners proud. 8)

You guys are awesome! I can't thank you enough!

Bryna
 

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Jim said:
I heard of some riders after buying a new bike, go on the front lawn and push it over to get the feel for picking it back up, (I guess the yard dosen't hurt it).
ride 5 mph over wet greass and dump it; you wont even scratch the paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Center stand or kick stand?

Guys,

I've heard different things about whether to use the center stand or the kick stand. The MSGroup folks recommend the kick stand for the "tripod" effect. I know it's also easier to handle a kick stand than the center stand.

Do you have any preference with your Burgies? (BTW, we both intend to practice dumping and lifting on safe turf. )

Cheers,

Bryna<--who's getting over her embarrassment and is back to her old motto of "Just do it!" :wink:
 

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If you park on a slope, always use the sidestand and parking brake. (If the slope is downhill, the scooter could roll off of the centerstand. If the slope is uphill, you could have one heck of a time getting the scooter off of the centerstand.)

On new asphalt, which is very soft, use the sidestand, but put something under it. Otherwise the stand will sink into the asphalt and the scooter will go over. I always carry something with me just in case. There is a commercial product called "The Foot" which is hard plastic shaped like a human foot - costs about $1. It has a hole in one end that I tie a piece of string to. I loop the other end of the string around the left handlebar grip so I don't forget to retrieve it before I leave. But a plastic coffee can lid, or something else you have around the house will work too.

On level ground I tend to use the centerstand - just personal preference.

In the garage, I always leave it on the centerstand.

When you park in a parking lot, do not pull the scooter all the way into the parking space. It should be visible from the rear of the parking space. That way it won't be hidden between two cars (or SUVs). If its not clearly visible, a careless driver could come wheeling into the parking space, thinking it is empty, and hit the scooter.
 

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I carry a 3" round elect box cover to use under the kick stand about 39 cents. And you will find the free AOL disks that come in the mail work good also. :)
 

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Hi Invincsum! Sounds like you're serious about your ride and riding as safely as possible. That's the attitude you should have when riding on 2 wheels on public roads.
From your post it appears that you haven't had a lot of experience on a bike. I'd strongly recommend that you sign up for the PA Motorcycle Program ASAP. It's FREE to PA residents and the state furnishes the bikes. The course is about 17 hours (at least while I was an instructor) and is the best investment of your time you can make.
They will teach you the basic skills ( braking, swerving, making proper turns, etc) needed to survive on the street as well as the proper attitude for riding, which is equally important. If you pass the course (written and riding) and have a Learners Permit, the Site Coordinator will sign your permit and it will become a valid license. You will also receive a completion certificate that many insurance companies recognize and give decent discounts on policies.
I don't know the Program's number off-hand but just contact PennDOT and they can give you the info. :D
 

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All the advice you've received about center stand vs side stand is very good stuff. You couldn't buy that kind of advice, and that's why forums like this one have such value.

My two peso's worth of advice is this: only use the center stand when you want to work on the bike, service it, polish it, wash it, fool with it, etc. As for the side stand, one poster cautioned you about asphalt being soft in hot weather and that you should put something under it. My friend has a BMW GS something or other with the kick stand from hell. The bike leans way too far because the kick stand isn't long enough (Memo to BMW: fire the kick stand design guys) and thus puts too much weight on the stand so the bike is always falling over.

Jokingly, I told him to get a hockey puck. He did. It works fine. I have no idea where he found it. Not a lot of hockey being played down here on the Mexican border. But I may be missing something.

Do take the wet lawn advice. Drop it and learn to pick it up. If you leg press 600 lbs, you should have no trouble.
 
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