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One thing ive told all the folks i work with that have taken the MSF course it go into it thinking that you have never even sat on a bike before and do as they say because if you start thinking i can do it this way i did it the other day in the parking lot you will mess up . When i did my course all the guys that said ive been riding with a friend or i ride dirtbikes i know im going to pass didnt also make sure you have nothing else going on that weekend because its a very tiring intensive course get plenty of sleep and then when you pass get out of the city and just ride
 

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So much great advice here from some very experienced riders is priceless so I won`t waist your time or mine repeating them. Just a few things from a little different perspective.

I am a longtime rider, retired Firefighter 64 yrs old 5` 9" about 140 lbs soaking wet. I just bought my first Wing, a 1994 1500.

A couple of things to ponder.. I notice a lot of the responses were from some big guys, I don`t know your size but if you decide to throw a leg over a bike the size of a wing remember your size is not really an issue. As long as your feet reach the ground and you are in reasonably good shape you can learn to become a great rider on a big bike.

For smaller guys like me,, and really all riders, it's all about technique, experience and confidence. That can only be attained by PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. As I said, I have been riding a long time, and by that I mean continually. Not since I was young,, but only occasionally.

Now having said that, Since I bought my Wing.. ( I came off a Harley) I too have been spending hours practicing in the parking lot. Doing slow speed drills, figure eights, diminishing turns etc. Just like new riders. Every bike has it own characteristics and the Wing is no exception.

I find I have had to adjust my riding skills to suit the bike. It is said that 90% of crashes on a Wing happen at below 10 mph. That fact alone should speak volumes for the importance of good slow speed skills.

Fortunately for me, Having spent 20 years driving fire trucks has helped me tremendously when it comes to defensive riding. Driving a 30,000 lb vehicle, running lights & sirens through heavy traffic will teach you to drive with eyes in the back of your head. And another set in the front looking 1/2 mile ahead all the time. The same for riding motorcycles. That is probably the most important component.

Also having responded to so many MVA`s involving motorcycles through the years, I can safely say that getting run over or into by other vehicles, or riders: inexperience was by far the greatest contributing factor.

As far as technique, I haven't heard trailer braking mentioned.

Many new riders and even some older ones have difficulty bringing a big bike to a slow stop. And often find themselves engaging the clutch, and using their front brake only to stop in order to plant their feet as soon as they can. As they think the bike will fall over, (which usually ends up happening anyway.)

That is the exact thing NOT to do. What happens is that even more weight gets transferred over the front wheel. With no power from the back wheel it just magnifies the problem and the bike wants to go down. I find when coming to a stop, I don't touch the clutch, keep a little throttle on and use the back brake to stop. The bike tracks straight ahead, no nose diving, or wobbling and I have far more control of the bike. I can come to an almost complete stop before I take my feet off the pegs and plant them.

Same thing in a tight turn, the bike will stay upright every time because the gyroscopic effect from the rear wheel will overcome gravity which is trying to make me fall over. Once you stop the rear wheel from supplying power, you are pretty much in the hands of inertia. It`s really a dance between the throttle, clutch and rear brake. I hope I didn't make it sound too complicated, it really isn't, but it does take practice to get proficient at it.

If you plan on eventually riding two up, after you get comfortable riding solo, start out by strapping a duffel bag full of something heavy on to the rear seat simulating a rider and practice with that for awhile before putting a rider on. Most of all, take the MSF course, practice, and get out there and enjoy this sport we all love so much..Good luck!
 

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A lot of good advice, the best is practice, practice and more practice. Another good idea is do not let your education end with the BRC. Take the BRC 2 on your bike and than next year take a ARC. After that, there is the bike bonding course and the ultimate bike bonding course. All great and you will really find out what you and the bike can do. Just keep learning and go into each new experience with an open mind. You will be amazed on what you will learn.
 

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If you have a good "track day" organization local to you consider a beginner track day. I did it for the first time when training my 16 year old daughter. I had been riding for over 30 years and was a much more technically proficientrider after one day. It was also so much fun we did it several more times.
 

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What everyone said knowing these guys its all more then likely good advice from guys that care about safety..Having said that I have learned in my 50 plus years of riding to keep my head on a swivel..do not assume anything when it comes to other drivers and wear the right protective gear.:readit:
 

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One thing I have learned on a big bike (a 'Wing for me)...

In a car or a smaller bike you can "leave early." Let me explain. Say you're sitting at an intersection and you've come to a stop because another car is crossing the intersection and you have yielded the right of way.

Often, we take our foot off the brake and let the car barely ease forward at just above an idle a second or two before we really should. We anticipate the crossing car will be clear of the intersection in another second or two and so we anticipate when they're going to clear and start early.

So lets' say you want to turn in behind that car on your 900+ pound wing and you're a fairly new rider... And so as he goes by you, you've already started movement, and are starting to turn in right behind him. Unbeknownst to you, he was starting to brake hard coming by you because of a pedestrian or other obstacle in front of him that you aren't aware of. Now you're picked up, you're rolling at 5+ MPH, leaning slightly into a turn with the front wheel canted sharply.

You've got troubles if you are new rider. You can't open the throttle to get the bike upright before stopping because there's no room for that. Especially if it's a right turn, the urge to put your right foot down to keep the bike up will be irresistible. That takes your foot off the rear brake, meaning you'll be front braking with the front wheel turned. The bike is going to be too heavy to keep upright if you've leaned into the anticipated turn too early. It's ALL bad, it's everything going wrong for a new rider at once.

There's no way to unravel this chain of events for a younger rider, you're almost certainly going to scrape chrome and pride simultaneously. The only antidote is to not get into that situation.

As a new rider on a bike above say 400 pounds, do NOT ever make an "anticipation maneuver," that is, a maneuver where you start leaning and turning the bike in anticipation that a space you want to fill will be available. You can't initiate movement until it IS available or you will be certain to get into trouble.
 

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ck out the rider test track at your local DMV, see the rules regarding test
Ca makes sure you can keep in a circle- start stop and demonstrate the `not against the law` lane-sharing/splitting abilty thru cones!

SIDENOTE:
According to the Officer I asked- lane sharing is legal with any vehicles that will fit inside the lines- 2 mini coopers is legal
So we are just temporarily sharing a portion of this lane and that lane, this lane and that lane
Lets hope they pass it as law in the western states, make cagers slightly more aware of that bright thing whizzing past the edge of their cell phone (always held to left ear so it best blocks view of the outside world) if they can be fined for impeding our progress
Officer suggested they are ok on freeway with speeds below 25 are fair game for +10 over traffic speed- when sharing

Whats my point in this new wing rider thread? for 7 years on a now narrow Shadow
I didn't spend much time waiting in heavy traffic or long red light lines-
Now, the Wing is considerably wider, longer bike, even heavier than a fold out couch! = I will be patiently waiting in line- for the time being

That's when the radio is useful...sitting in traffic
Another thing to leave alone for 1000 miles of real roads, not just freeway riding.
That newfound riding silence is enough distraction to figuring out gearing, without that usual loud input from engine and exhaust~
 

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I have to add a very strong 2nd to the Avoid Anticipation starts...

If the road is NOT clear, meaning no oncoming traffic from your right, do NOT start out thinking they will pass you and you can follow them.

9 times out of 10, they WILL make a left turn into the driveway/intersection you are about to leave.

I had that happen 3 times just this week... I wanted to go left, on coming cars w/o any turn signals in use. In one case, 3 vehicles in a row all turned left into the grocery store parking lot I was leaving. Not one of those vehicles used a left turn signal.

I let my guard down and had pulled out a few feet... but ended up stopping Right Now, and standing up on both feet using only the front brake to hold the bike.

Lucky for me, I can sit flat footed on my bike with both heels on the ground.
This means I can clear the seat completely when I stand up on both feet.

A new rider caught in that same exact scenario would have gone down.... I was not that far from going down myself....
 

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VERY useful advise folks ... don't know if i missed this tip being stated though ... advise from a mentor in my early years ... " respect a curve " ... saved my a*s a couple of times before becoming automatic ... safe trippin ...
 

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Slow Down before the corner, accelerate out of the corner!

Best way to keep from a late apex leading to late exit and exploration of the gravel trap..... conveniently placed just outside the pavement edge

Luckily it was on the much smaller and easy to keep upright Shadow,,
but I learned that lesson in 1 take!
Slow In - Faster Out
 

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You may want a Goldwing but this bike is not for the beginner. My first bike was a 125cc Honda. I went through 4 bikes of increasing size before my first Goldwing.
 

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I'm not trying to be the contrary sort but I somewhat disagree with those who say that a Goldwing is not the bike for a beginner. Without a doubt, if you've never ridden a bike or at least not one as big as a Goldwing, you are going to find it very intimidating. I have not ridden a bike in over 35 years and that was a KZ750. My wife and I have always planned on taking a long trip around the country when I retire. With the price of gas, we had to give up on the dream of an RV and turned our sites on a touring bike. We fell in love with a '93 Aspy. The deal was made over the phone and we went to pick it up. My wife asked me if I was nervous about riding after being off a bike for so long. I told her it was just like riding a bike and it will all come back. I said the thing that scares me the most is I will not be used to the clutch on this particular bike and I may look foolish when I pull away. The moment came when I handed him the cash and I started to pull away. "WHAT HAVE I DONE?" The bike felt like it weighed as much as a bulldozer. When I made the turn going out of the driveway onto the street, I was afraid to lean the bike so the handlebars were fighting me. I wanted to go one way and the bike wanted to go the other. Talk about looking foolish. I couldn't decide what foot to put down and leaning the bike, even the smallest amount was not an option. I never was one to dangle my feet when taking off but pull to the right for some reason. Thankfully I got home safely, but I was afraid to get back on it. I called the guy I just bought the bike from and told him it had steering problems. He insisted the bike was fine so I let it go. I got online and joined this forum. Someone suggested the video "Ride Like A Pro". I went to youtube and typed that in and found out the he has a lot of videos. One of them was his wife riding this big Harley. She said, "Strength and size don't matter because I don't want to lift the bike and I don't want to carry the bike. I just want to ride it." When I saw what this 110 lb lady can do on the bike, It gave me great hope and relieved a lot of fear. I practiced those techniques in a parking lot and mastered starting, stopping and tight u-turns. Once I mastered riding at very slow speeds, I was no longer aware of the size and weight of the bike. I was not afraid of leaning the bike which made turning a lot easier. ;-) As I started out saying, I don't want to be contrary but although it may sound good in theory to move up gradually to a bigger bike, in reality, once you are sitting on your dream, fears of dropping it or putting a scratch on it will haunt you until you have made yourself comfortable on it.
 

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Same as you JL, I was over 25 years without a bike until I'd bought my 91 gl 1500 se. Just took my time and drove around a local grave yard for a couple of weeks. Figured if something went wrong I'd didn't have far to go. That was 4 summers ago, bought the bike because I was off work sick and just wanted some thing to do on the days when I wasn't to bad to dive. There are times I'd don't ride for weeks or months but it's feel's good to ride on the days I can. Can't travel far but nice to feel free and visit the few friends when I'm out.
 

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There is a difference between returning rider and NEVER rode a bike - or just took the Rider Safety Course on a 250 to learn the basics!
A Wing is probably not the best 1st bike `for the average person` Exceptions abound!


If you have ridden at all in your life, 20 years ago,,its ok = just be careful and definitely attend some GWRRA sponsored free rider training days
Once the bike is going about 15mph you don't notice the size anymore, it feels small to me when riding, sometimes even agile!
Everyone else calls her The White Whale


Make sure - MAKE SURE!!! the front wheel is straight!!!!!!!!!!! when coming to a stop, or expect to visit the pavement
ie; bike takes a nap
Same thing when taking off from a stop- front wheel straight!!
They stressed this at Wing rider slow speed training over and over~
Any time I am a little off center or leaning during the last few feet of stopping, I can feel the bike want to tuck the front wheel and go under, quickly reminds one to center the steering and properly balance with BOTH feet on the ground~
 

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fear of dropping it subsides when you do actually drop it.... at zero mph hopefully, and there is not so much as a scuff on the bike!
Its made for this, they know old guys are going to lay it over now and then
Get help lifting it back up, shake head in disbelief and ride away,,do shout Thank You to all who rushed over to right the bike for you
HD guys remarked: Man this thing is HEAVY!
Yep, I dropped it right in front of 100 HD guys at a poker run... soon after I got the bike = before rider training day- go figure!
Earned the name 3 Point for my inability to perform said activity successfully,
They all said it had happened to them too, but it cost thousands to lay over a Harley
 

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I am going to chime in here about my experience as a new GW rider. Last August, I bought a 2005 1800 with only 24,000 miles on it. It was meticulously cared for by the previous owner who provided me with all the cleaning and polishing products he used on it, along with a cover and his and her helmets. The bike was absolutely in showroom condition.

It was my first big bike, having had eight years of riding a 150cc Vespa. I received my MC endorsement shortly after I bought the Vespa.

My Wing arrived and after a couple days of looking at it, I rode it around the block. It has sat until this week. This past weekend, I completed the state Motorcycle Rider Training Course, riding a 250cc Honda Night Hawk for two days of the course. I also had one night of classroom training. By coincidence, I finished reading Proficient Motorcycling by David Hugh.

At that point, I had somewhat overcome my apprehensions of the big bike, some of which were fueled by the responses I got when I first joined this forum and explained my purchase.

I was certainly not ready to begin aggressive riding but there is a parking lot up the street that I intended to practice some of what I learned in the course. My hesitation was that I needed to get my bike inspected and my three local inspection stations are no longer. Getting a state inspection meant riding to one of two other towns which are about 16 miles away. I had done a dry run in my truck, visiting both locations, to determine which would be the best for me.

Last Wednesday, I got suited up with all my gear and was determined to ride the Wing. I did some practice friction point exercises and then rode up the street to the parking lot, where I practiced turns, stops, power walking, friction point and braking. After a while, I decided to head to the inspection station of choice with the idea if I felt uncomfortable at any time, I would return home.

The ride was pleasant and uneventful and truly a quantum leap from last fall. I made it to the inspection station and returned home without incident. I parked the Wing in the garage with a great deal of satisfaction. I had proved that I could ride the bike, but I also realized that each and every ride must be taken seriously and that one must constantly be in learning mode. These magnificent machines can be a good friend or your worst enemy.

I am fortunate to live in a small rural community with no stop lights and only one 4-way stop. Traffic is very light if at all and it is a great place to do novice riding. I look forward to many miles on my Goldwing.
 
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