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I recently purchased a '97 Kaw classic 1500. It has been 30 years since I rode and to tell you the truth this bike intimidates me. It is a beauty with jetted carbs and jardine headers.
I am going to take a course in Motorcycle safety in February. I have driven it about 12 miles since I got it last week. I seem to have small problem when negotiating turning a corner..whether I lean into the turn and let the bike do it or turn it myself. That is just one example.

Can anyone offer me tips on how to overcome intimidation riding this bear?
F.Y.I. I am 55 yrs old, 6'4" and 180 lbs
 

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Taking the motorcycle safety course is a good start. Don't be intimidated by your bike. Try to get out as often as you can. Practice makes perfect. Do not try to ride beyond your skills. Always go at your own pace. Don't try to keep up with anyone. If you have a large parking lot nearby you can practice your turns. Make sure you are constantly aware of your surroundings. Oh, and welcome back to biking. You picked a fine machine. 55 yrs old means nothing. I've got 2 years on you.:biggrin:

JohnR
 

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Post 340 Riders
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I I seem to have small problem when negotiating turning a corner..whether I lean into the turn and let the bike do it or turn it myself. That is just one example.

Can anyone offer me tips on how to overcome ion riding this bear?
F.Y.I. I am 55 yrs old, 6'4" and 180 lbs
You need to control the bike in a turn, if you don't the bike will want to go straight. At very slow speed its the same as riding a bicycle Turn left= go left. Turn right= go right. Up at speed you need to Counter Steer to make turns, Push left= go left, Push right= go right.
Do a web search under counter steer and there are many examples and videos of this effect.

Don't be intimidated, Your almost my age and have +9" on me and I ride a 1600 Nomad. I'll admit there has been times where I needed assistance getting out of a few parking situations due to its weight, but once moving its a dream to control.

Welcome back to riding, it will all come back quickly.
 

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Just one year and a few days since I got my first motorcycle, so I am still learning new things everyday. One thing I found recently is that I can balance better if I hug the tank, and firmly support upper body on the bike. If I do not hold the bike with legs, my arms would struggle between two tasks - steering and supporting the upper body.
The most difficult to me is the S - shape slow turns right after the start. Now I know why. Bike start moving, my legs up on the pegs. Pre-occupied with putting down my foot just incase, the outer muscles on my legs are on standby, not holding the bike. It took some concentration to grab the bike as soon as the legs are up on the pegs, but it helped a lot. I could flick the bike left right at the slow turn. It also helped during the normal turn.
Someday, if I get more experience, this may not be an issue. But for now, it helps...
 

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I have been away for twenty five years myself. I started back on a friends Harley. It didn't feel the same as the lighter 900 I had years ago. Even practicing in a parking lot, the bike was hard to control. I took the Motorcycle safety course this past summer and what a differance. Reloader is right on with the counter steer pushing on the handle bars. It is hard to understand until you take the safety course. You can't graduate until you understand that. You will also do figure eights in a tight box to learn parking lot control. If you can do it on the school's little 250s you will easily adapt to a big bike.
 

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Vegas Vulcan
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If you don't have someone to physically show and explain these things and if you feel that intimidated then stay off the bike until you take the course. It's better than dumping your bike.

That's not going to be the most popular answer here but you seem to have forgotten the basic dynamics or maybe never were taught them. 30 years ago there wasn't much around in motorcycle safety instruction.
 

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Missy Peregrym's #1 fan!
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Any tips for a Rookie
find yourself a good agent and don't hold out. the game speed in the pros is much faster than you can imagine so you will need that hold out time to improve and adjust, plus holding out just makes you look like a jerk.

:D
 

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nu2kawi
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You don't say when your steering problem is...Slow turns or fast turns. Trying to balance the bike in a slow turn? Doing a tight turn taking off? Going left or right or both. Try not to use the break. Work the clutch and throttle for slow tight turns. When you take off and turn, the bike will want to stay upright. All this stuff the class will teach you, till then just practice. Slow speeds you steer the bike, the faster you go, counter steering is used...like Reloader says.
 

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I'm with Capt Rando on this. Why hurt yourself others or damage your ride.
I didn't even know how to spell motorcyclist but after MSF course I is one. When you take that course you will have been taught everything you need to start riding with a degree of confidence that you will be able to become a proficient rider if you practice the skills you have acquired. Two weeks ago I had never been on a motorcycle I never thought I would have come as far as I have but I owe it all to the MSF and the great instructors we had. I know I have a long way to go but I know how to get there. The MSF course is the best self protection you can buy and may be more instrumental in saving my/your life than any other protective gear money can buy.

I'm starting a new thread about my new hobby just check my profile for threads started

Vulcan 900 Classic 'Carri Blue'
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I appreciate all of your replies :smile: . Certain things did come back to me after awhile on it, but the intimidation factor is.."this bike weighs 700 lbs". :icon_frow


Reloader...:) thanks for the link on counter steering and your input.
I also found out that if I hug the tank as Su1kil said.. more control is felt.

On making tight turns, I know you shouldn't use the brake, must learn to coordinate the clutch and throttle in slow turns. Don't know if I will ever be able to "scrape" my floorboards on making turns without putting a foot down.
I am trying to figure whats more comfortable.. using 2 or 4 fingers on brake and throttle roll.
Also, I try to use the back brake now and then so as not always to rely on front brake. I was told long ago that it is wise to use both brakes at different times. Do any of you do this?

I live in Maryland and winter will cut down on practice driving so it will be a long wait until MSF class in March
 

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I try to remind myself time to time. I give inputs to the bike, and the bike does all the heavy muscle tasks such as accelerating, stopping, balancing itself and its load (the rider). I need to trust the bike's capability and the engineers who designed it. Now, about the inputs I must provide... MSF class was great for that stuff... It covers the proper use of brake, too.
 

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I was in the same boat a few months back. Having been absent from riding for about 20 years...I bought a 97 Vulcan 1500, just as you. I had a friend ride it home that nite and when we got to my place, he wanted the bike. I sat an looked at it for a couple of hours before I got on it and fired it up. It was about 11pm on a June nite here in CA. I ode it around the block and when I got back, I was sure that I had made a big mistake in buying the bike. Now, a few months later, I a riding the freeways of SoCal and gaining confidence and skill every day. Don't let the bike intimidate you, but still respect it for the beast that it is. My skill level has increased dramatically from that first nite and yours will too. Ride safe, do not over ride your ability and have fun on a great machine.
 

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Everyone here has already given you great advice, just do what feels comfortable to you my friend. If you feel you need to wait to take the MSF then by all means wait. If you feel like you can get out there, then just take it easy and practice, practice, practice. It helped me alot riding with exsperianced riders, I did not mind getting there input. What ever you choose be safe and ride in your limits, even if riding with others they should understand that you are new and hoopefully respect that and watch out for you. My friends where a great help to me. Stay safe.
 

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Wannabeabigbike Owner
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Funny but I felt the same way. Just HAD to have a big bike after years of not riding. Couldn't find ANY that felt comfortable OR not intimidating. Wound up with the little EN500 wannabeabigbike, and am in love with it. Get me anywhere I want, faster than I need to go, and is fun! I keep trying bigger bikes 'cause like all of us guys, I got the "bigger is better" syndrome back in the brain cells! (NO, Saki, that is NOT what I meant!!!!)
I got this one because of price, but now, I have had several chances to "upgrade" but just can't make myself part with this one! I have, I think, mentioned a couple of comment made about looking like a pumpkin on a toothpick, but from ON the bike, it looks (AND FEELS) just fine!
 

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THe best advice I can give is to take the MSF class, then find a big empty parking lot and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. In an empty parking lot, you can practice your techniques without worrying about going into oncoming traffic if your turn is not tight enough.

THe problem is, if you don't know the right techniques, practice won't do any good. If you don't have time to take the MSF, I recommend HIGHLY buying and reading the book "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough. In fact, I recommend your reading it even if you do take the MSF class.
 

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I bought my Nomad 2 years ago at 52 after a 17 year layoff. I had about 5 bikes that were 750's that were 1/2 the weight of the Nomad. At 1st it felt like a tank. After 2 years and 21K it feels just as easy to drive as my lighter bikes. The only thing when riding double,you need to watch your footing when stoping for slippery situations like loose graves,sand oil due to the weight. Just ride and it will get better as you go.
 
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