First time rider tips... - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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I have never ridden a motorcycle and I am looking for some tips on getting into riding. I plan on taking a Motorcycle Safety Class to get some saftey tips and get my License endorsement, but there are always those little things that help as you get started riding.

If you can remember back to when you first started riding or something you learned just last week that made a world of difference in your riding, please post on this thread. This would mean the world to me and probably help others in the same position.

Thank you for anything you can add!!

Safety doesn't happen by accident.

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Safety doesn\'t happen by accident.
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post #2 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 10:53 PM
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You will go where you look so, if you don't want to go there don't be looking that direction.
Create a routine that you faithfully follow everytime you take the bike out IN ORDER every time.


1. Check: tires,oil, cables, brakes, lights, horn,air in suspension, mirrors.

2. Warm up engine

3. Stand up bike and immediately put the side stand up. It is truely unbelievable the number of people that forget to put the side stand up, for what ever excuse they have, and fall over as a result.

Pay attention to your surroundings at ALL TIMES. Forget about the radio, passenger, or any other distractions for a while.

Try to find someone that is an experienced and COMPETENT rider near you that would be willing to go out a few times to watch, critique, and provide example to you.

My favorite is Don't fall down.

2008 GL1800B (Airbag)
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post #3 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 10:53 PM
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Take the MSF beginner rider course first BEFORE YOU BUY A BIKE. After this course you will have a much better idea of what you really want to ride.

Don't buy a bike that is too big for a first time rider, the bigger the bike, the more difficult your mistakes will be to control.

I love my GL1200 wing, but even though I had been riding for many years it was a whole new learning curve as all of the little things that I did wrong were a lot more obvious on the wing.

Good luck, and please read up, practice regularly, and take those classes so that you can learn to ride correctly and safely.


Most common quote from a cager after killing a motorcyclist is?

"I never saw him".
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post #4 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-05-2011, 11:42 PM
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Take the course then come back and ask that question again.

You are invisible, no one is looking for you, always expect them to pull out in front of you or turn left in front of you or hit you from behind when you stop.

Always have an escape route....When you stop make sure you have a place to pull into if the car behind you does not stop.

For the first few months of practicing do not turn on your radio, do not play with any controls except for the turn signals, do not have any one ride on the bike with you. No distractions!!

As some one pointed out above you will go where you are looking. This is called target fixation. When entering a curve don't look down into the curve to make sure you are not going off of the pavement, look to the point where you want to come out of the curve and keep looking past that as you come out. Watch a motorcycle race and concentrate on the riders as they are entering a curve. You will notice their chins are up, and their heads are turned toward where they want to come out of the curve.

As stated previously find a riding buddy and practice with them. Have them follow you and don't take it hard when they critique your riding. They are there to help keep you alive and well.

You will drop your bike at some time. Try not to panic when it happens. Most likely it will happen when you are practicing slow speed turns your first time. If the bike is going down let it go, don't try to stop it because you can't. Watch the videos on this site and you tube on how to pick up your bike. They will make it a lot easier for you.

Wear your helmet, gloves, jacket, boots etc all the time....some people will take exception to this but you are just learning and you will drop the bike. You want as much protection as you can get for now.

Allow more stopping room that you think you need, you are still new at the controls and you may need that extra time to react.

Work up to longer rides slowly. Don't just decide you want to take a 500 mile trip to see the inlaws and then ride back the next day. You'll be worn out and inattentive - thats dangerous.

As Lil Pete said check the bike every time before you ride it. You have only 2 wheels beneath you, if one goes flat you will have a lot of problems not dropping the bike.

According to your avatar you have a 1100. That a large bike to start out on. I would have suggested you get a beater that you can thrash till you get better then switch up.

One of the hardest things to learn is to not panic when you are not quite in control of the situation, you must learn to let go of the throttle otherwise the bike will keep picking up speed right up to the point you crash into something.

Pay very close attention to the instructor when they talk about countersteering. It is not intuitive but by using countersteering instead of trying to force the bike to lean you will enter and exit your turns much better at speed.

There are guys on here who teach the MSF courses and they are much better at giving you the basics that I am so wait a bit and they will chime in.

Good luck with the bike and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do mine!!

LarryInSeattle and Smokeater like this.

2004 GL1800A Dark Red
Yes that is ice on the fender!!!
Darksider # 902

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post #5 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 01:00 AM
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The best advice I can give a new rider is that after you've taken the course, and you've bought a bike, find a nice, large, empty parking lot and spend hour upon hour upon hour upon hour challenging yourself to do things like:

Ride straight down the center parking lot line at idle without wavering. Work to do it while slipping the clutch and barely moving.

Slalom between parking stall lines as slowly as you possibly can. At idle, or slipping the clutch. Work to tighten the slalom up. Start with every other stall, and work to every single stall...then work to ride every single line.

Slow circles. Work to where you can have the bike moving as slowly as possible while the bars are turned clear to the stop.

Bar stop to bar stop figure 8's. Same thing as above.

I tell you to practice this way often and alot for a reason.

The more confident and proficient you become at near stop speeds, and the more you practice, the less likely you will be to "clutch up" when something happens on the road. Those reactions will have become reflex actions that do not need to be thought about.

I've been riding street bikes for almost 30 years, and I still go find an empty parking lot to play in for an hour or three no less than 4 times per riding season

Mike Kramer

"Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: Now."

Denis Waitley
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post #6 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 02:34 AM
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Here is an old thread I have read with some tips to go along with the above.

I have a school parking lot not far from my house, It's where my 1000 taught me how to pick it up. It took a few naps in that lot.

Happy Trails

My pic's

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post #7 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 04:29 AM
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Welcome to the world of motorcycle rider's. The skill and level of attention required to safely operate a motorcycle can seem daunting at first, so take it slow, take a safety course and head on over to ''. It is the best motorcycle safety forum on the net!

Life is like a roller coaster, full of ups and down\'s.
Most people just lay on the tracks, I prefer to ride my bike!
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post #8 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 09:32 AM
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Some great riding tips being put out here.

#1 in my book is as follows.

Someone already mentioned this in a roundabout way "You are invisible" NEVER EVERassume that other people see you, even when they are looking in your direction. Just when you think someone see's you is whenthey will pull out in front of you!!

Don't buy a bike bigger than your experience, buy a smaller one to learn on IE: Honda rebel.

Good luck and enjoy the riding experience.

Darksider #1288
Previously Owned:
\'70 Honda 50 mini trail bike
\'75 Can Am 175 TNT
\'77 Yamaha XS750
\'77 Kawasaki KE250
\'88 Kawasaki Ninja 600R
\'83 Honda VT750 Shadow
\'89 Honda GL1500 Goldwing
\'02 Honda GL1800 (current ride)
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post #9 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 09:38 AM
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-- take a class...
-- start small, and I'd suggest a 250 to 400 dual sport. Dual sports are great learning bikes, forgiving, easy to handle, take punishment well.....
-- don't drink, don't speed, don't ride angry....
-- your first miles should be on relatively uninhabited roads....
-- don't try and look like something out of the Sons of Anarchy...wear all the gear all the time, and bright colors...full-face helmet, armored jacket and pants....
-- limit your "pack" riding at first, no matter what your level of experience, if you ride with others you will ride faster than you would if alone.
-- It's a great world out there on a bike, have fun (from my wife!)

First name: Mel (Red\'s: Sandy)

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to." (Bilbo Baggins)
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post #10 of 85 (permalink) Old 04-06-2011, 10:09 AM
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1. Take lessons.

2. Don't trust your mirrors, turn your head for a better look.

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