Hello, I am a new (1st year) rider and a new member here. What a great resource - nice to "meet" you all. I bought my first bike ever in the spring of 2007 - a 2000 vulcan 800 classic and I love it! I immediately took the MSF course and recommend to any new rider. Anyways, while becoming a more proficient rider over the summer, I feel that I have come a long way - BUT, I still wonder if I am shifting gear at the appropriate speeds or riding in the appropriate gear. Generally, I switch as follows: 0/1st; 15/2nd; 30/3rd; 45-50/4th; 60/5th. Does this seem like a reasonable rate of shifting? Also, it seems that when I ride w/o a helmet (I Know...) that I hear the engine better and I seem to shift at a higher speed than when I am wearing a helmet...maybe about 5 MPH later.