Suzuki Burgman USA Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings! I'm a very new owner of a 2020 Burgman 400 and can't wait to ride it. I've never ridden anything before and this is my birthday gift from my husband. He felt it would be a great step into riding and I couldn't agree more. I'm trying to get into a local basic motorcycle rider course in the near future but most classes are full. I'll learn in the meantime in private lots to get a feel for riding and handling a bike. These look incredible and as an almost 61 year old mother of 2, I'm ready for this new lifestyle. Any advice from other riders who remember learning to ride is appreciated. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
My wife took her course last year. We are nearing 50. She completed the courses and got her license and we did a few little rides on her 650 vstar last season. She really never got comfortable with that bike. So we picked up our burgman 400 a couple weeks ago. She is slowly getting out and getting used to it. We still ride 2up on our royal star to still.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
hi Maw
I'm from IL too but happy to live in Southern CA the last half century. I lived in Chicago and always discouraged potential riders from taking up the sport. Too much crazy traffic. I rode daily in sun, wind, sleet and below zero snow & ice—don't recommend it.

But if you're a country gal riding for pleasure; go for it! Lotsa places to go, things to see, and it's so much better on 2 wheels. Suggestion: Starved Rock state park or Lake Geneva, WI.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,437 Posts
Greetings! I'm a very new owner of a 2020 Burgman 400 and can't wait to ride it. I've never ridden anything before and this is my birthday gift from my husband. He felt it would be a great step into riding and I couldn't agree more. I'm trying to get into a local basic motorcycle rider course in the near future but most classes are full. I'll learn in the meantime in private lots to get a feel for riding and handling a bike. These look incredible and as an almost 61 year old mother of 2, I'm ready for this new lifestyle. Any advice from other riders who remember learning to ride is appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome to the forum, and to motorcycling.

As @jabberwock stated, it's dangerous out there, so be careful.

I'll get the ball rolling, although this is far from complete. And I have a little experience in this: besides being a street rider of a couple of decades (and, so far, lived to tell about it), I was an MSF RiderCoach for a few years, getting certified to teach after I retired from my day job.

Ok, some suggestions:
  • For heavens sake, dress for disaster: full-face helmet, jacket armored (mesh in hot weather is all right) in the elbows and back (and a real back protector, not just some foam that comes with a lot of cheap jackets -- take a look at Results for 'back protectors' - RevZilla), over-the-ankle boots, gloves, and Kevlar-lined jeans or some sort of overpants would be nice (jeans shred in seconds).
  • Dress for the weather or the potential weather; it's almost always colder than you think on a bike (with wind-chill), or hotter than you think on a bike (heat off the pavement and engine heat).
  • Stay hydrated.
  • While you're waiting for a class, read this: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well, Updated & Expanded 2nd Edition (CompanionHouse Books) The Must-Have Manual: Confront Fears, Sharpen Handling Skills, & Learn to Ride Safely: Hough, David L.: 0731360583598: Amazon.com: Books
  • Look as far ahead as you can see, not down at the road in front of you; keep your head and eyes up!
  • Mentally work on "what if" scenarios, e.g., that car pulls out in front, that car crosses four lanes to hit the exit ramp, etc.
  • Look through the turn -- where you want to go -- way far ahead, not down at the road in front of you; keep your head and eyes up!
  • As @Uncle Fester notes below, don't target fixate; this goes hand in hand with planning escape routes (see below).
  • Slow down for the turns and curves, as you can always speed up on the way out.
  • In curves, make sure you align yourself with the bike, or lean a bit on the inside of the curve; never lean your body toward the outside of a curve, i.e., don't position your torso vertically (or worse), as that will cause the bike to lean closer to the ground than it has to (and I'm ignoring U-turns here, which I don't call a curve).
  • If you ever happen to enter a curve too fast, don't panic, keep looking through the turn (not at the approaching car or a guardrail); also, you'll be surprised to learn that the bike has more lean angle than you thought, so it can then tighten up that turning.
  • Speaking of escape routes, look for them, not at the problem; this can be as simple as looking to the side of a big pothole, not at the pothole itself (or any other problem you catch with your peripheral vision).
  • Speaking more of escape routes, leave some extra space behind the car in front of you at a red light or stop sign, keep an eye out for the car that is about to stop behind you, and plan for a possible escape if it isn't about to stop behind you.
  • Cover the brakes approaching intersections and other iffy situations.
  • As the MSF notes (or did in my day), "Your mirrors only say 'no'"; that is, if you want to change lanes, precede that with a head-check (i.e., turn your head, so you can say 'yes').
  • But don't have a death-grip on the handlebars; try to keep your arms, shoulders, neck, etc., relaxed (and your head and eyes up), or you will tire out your mind and body from the stress, and probably miss something important happening down the road.
  • Use lane positioning to your advantage, e.g., over on the right of the lane on a highway's slow lane, over on the left in suburbia (as each driveway is a potential intersection), maybe move right when a car approaches in the opposite direction, that sort of thing.
  • Do most of your riding in rural areas for the first year or two; try to minimize your exposure to traffic.
  • Stay out of cars' blind spots; those blind spots can easily swallow a two-wheeler.
  • And just keep away from the big rigs; don't pass on the right, and watch out for retread tire dragons flying apart toward you.
  • Don't rely on your horn for anything; you should be too busy taking evasive action, anyway.
  • Assume you're invisible to all other drivers, pedestrians in crosswalks, cows, deer, etc.; it's a good strategy, and is all too often actually the case.
  • Those private lots you speak of are a good thing; practice ever tightening circles (looking through the circles, while keeping your head and eyes up, and "being the bike" or leaned inside), figure eights, and some simulated lane-change swerves (and don't get freaked out if you happen to scrape something on the bike).
  • Practice some panic-stop braking (in those parking lots, or on rural roads, when there's no traffic around); the bike can stop quicker than you probably realize, but only if you get in the habit of doing so (and keep your head up while doing so).
  • Don't even think about giving anyone a ride out back for two or three years.
  • Forgot an important one: "ride your own ride," which means don't get sucked into trying to keep up with hubby or anyone else; go at a pace that you're comfortable with.
  • Arrgh, forgot another one: the anti-SMIDSY weave, when approaching intersections, particularly with cars waiting to turn left in front of you; this is moving in your lane -- a single headlight makes it difficult for waiting driving to judge your speed, because of lack of depth perception -- as a weave, back and forth once or twice, to avoid the post-crash scenario in which the driver says, "Sorry mate, I didn't see you."
  • Forgot to mention that there are problems unique to single-track vehicles, as opposed to, say, cars; these can be especially dangerous, especially when leaned over.
  • Watch out for sand, particularly in the spring, particularly at the intersection with downhill cross roads.
  • Watch out for oil, coolant, etc., on the road.
  • Leaves can be dangerous, and wet leaves are like ice.
  • Beware of "edge traps," for example when one lane of a newly paved road is higher than the one you're riding in; when switching over to the higher lane, or crossing some angled railroad crossing, swing out so that you can cross at a greater angle (because if you try to almost run along those edges, the front wheel will be deflected).
  • Traction after a light rain, or at the very start of heavier rain, is usually suspect; the oil on the road is being mixed with the water, but hasn't yet been washed away.
That should give you something to think about for a few minutes. It's probably all covered in David Hough's book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,498 Posts
The problem starting out new is your reactions are not instinctive. I would suggest practice in an area of very little traffic so if you make a mistake it won't be a hospital visit. Getting used to the throttle and the feel of the brakes are very important. It seems like a pretty big bike to start off on to me but as long as you feel comfortable.

A very important lesson is target fixation. The bike will go in the direction you are looking at. Remember to look forward to where you want to ride in a curve.

Nothing takes the place of experience. Most of us have gotten experience from our mistakes. We're not trying to discourage you but we have all been caught by surprise by some oil, gravel or tar snake on the road. Coming from the midwest myself deer are a big problem. If one crosses the road in front of you there are probably more on the way.


This guy probably thought he was an experienced rider and he probably was.

 
  • Like
Reactions: wspollack

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
300 Posts
...I'm trying to get into a local basic motorcycle rider course in the near future but most classes are full. I'll learn in the meantime in private lots to get a feel for riding and handling a bike. These look incredible and as an almost 61 year old mother of 2, I'm ready for this new lifestyle. Any advice from other riders who remember learning to ride is appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome!

If the course is an MSF-sponsored course, then, yes, ABSOLUTELY take that course. I'd actually recommend that if IL allows it (it used to be allowed in several states), enroll into at least TWO classes. This way, if one rains out or something happens, you aren't left hanging. THAT SAID...

Make sure you call the course provider BEFORE you show up. These courses are mostly taught for manual transmission bikes. You know, those silly things with clutches and such. They will provide a smaller bike. But it will have the clutch, which is NOT how you will ride a 400. This may be a little confusing if you are just starting out. But still take the course. You'll learn a TON of information. The instructors are usually really great, and will make whatever accommodations they can within the boundaries of the programs. The instructors are usually hard-core riders and have the opinion that it matters a lot more THAT you ride, than WHAT you ride. So they'll generally be very supportive.

You'll also meet other riders, which may give you some new playmates for those weekend rides.

One last thing I'll offer is this video. Hopefully, you'll never need it. But, knowing this may help you be more confident of what do. And they didn't cover it when my daughter took the course.

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,097 Posts
The burgie doesn't have the bars (crash bars) but this will work, don't forget to set the brake, turn the front wheel to the down side and use the grab bars. If you are riding a Zero sf, just call a heavy lift helicopter :mad:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Greetings! I'm a very new owner of a 2020 Burgman 400 and can't wait to ride it. I've never ridden anything before and this is my birthday gift from my husband. He felt it would be a great step into riding and I couldn't agree more. I'm trying to get into a local basic motorcycle rider course in the near future but most classes are full. I'll learn in the meantime in private lots to get a feel for riding and handling a bike. These look incredible and as an almost 61 year old mother of 2, I'm ready for this new lifestyle. Any advice from other riders who remember learning to ride is appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome!! When I got my 650 Burgman I had only just gotten my motorcycle permit. My husband would take us to an empty parking lot at night to let me practice and get used to the feel of it. That was the best thing he did to help me learn again, it had been over 20 years since I had been on a bike. One I was comfortable enough in the parking lot he got on his bike and we went down side roads in our area. Take your time getting used to it. You will know when you are ready to moved to the next step. When you do the rider course use their bike not yours. I did my course and got my license last september.
 

·
Registered
2016 Burgman Exec Matte Black
Joined
·
79 Posts
Fun seeing those two bikes side by side. It really gives perspective on how big these "maxi-scooters" really are. Even next to my brothers' TriGlide Harley, my Burg Exec is a big touring bike!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,012 Posts
Seeing the CSC made me go looking....CSC RX4 vs RE Himalayan
I’m not the Adventure Rider I used to be....The Burgman has made me a Lazy Comfortable Cheap Skate.
.

 

·
Registered
2013 Burgman 650 who's name is Frankenberg...
Joined
·
1,056 Posts
Just beware of cars, assume they will NEVER ever see you and you'll be fine.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
300 Posts
Great day here in Wisconsin. My wife and I hitting the back roads. Her first time out on the road with it we covered 90 miles today and stopped for lunch. She says we going back out after lunch?
I REALLY need to find a way to get back home and do some riding. Especially from Door down to Manitowoc... there are some really nice roads.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top