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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like title states, a new rider with motorcycles, been practicing for dmv class M but class is still a month away. I have not gone near a highway, stay on roads that are 50 mph and below, I find myself nervous just climbing that limit, comfortable at 40-45 mph. Is this normal to work yourself up to speed limits? Been working on slow turns for DMV, working roads into this. Going by youtube videos, so self taught literally. I am having fun but worrying about my limits. I finally got a jacket, use MC boots and jeans for now, of course full-face helmet and gloves. Will my confidence and nerves get better with more miles? Seems to be going that way. Learning on a KLR as first bike.
 

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1999 KL650A
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I’m no expert, only about 1.5 years riding myself. KLR is basically my first bike too. But in my limited experience, yes! You’re right on schedule. And your confidence will grow with time. Knowing your limits and proceeding with caution is undoubtedly better than thinking you’re invincible & rushing into things your muscle memory & skill aren’t ready for yet.

I guess one thing to do is to make sure you’re building confidence with the proper technique, instead of getting yourself conditioned to do things improperly without realizing it. YouTube helped me a LOT! Honestly much more than the required mc safety class here in Oregon.

Just practice somewhere safe. I like church parking lots on weekdays. I’ve got lil cones & all. I also sometimes film myself to see what I’m doing from a different angle—I’ve been surprised at how different it looks from whatever video I’m trying to emulate lol, and that allows me to correct my posture or technique or whatever. But yea practicing riding/safety techniques has become like its own little hobby for me. I don’t plan on stopping that side of things anytime soon.

But yea, no reason to rush into highway speeds. Just have patience with yourself & enjoy the process in the meantime!
 

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2022 KRL 650
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Until I my KLR last month the fast I think I had ever gone was 40 (except on my nephew's 200 once, he said I hit 60. I rode my cousin's dirt bike before I got a license and after that rode a Yamaha 650 twice, nether times above a 35 MPH speed limit. I took a learn to ride class at a local Harley dealership in 2016 and that helped with my confidence. After that, I only rode a local friend's bike up the road in his subdivision a bit after he got them. Before that my longest ride was to his house about 10 miles away on a bike that died at a light and I had to pull the seat and use starting fluid at a stop light, once again never going above 40, that was over 10 years ago.

In Idaho with a motorcycle permit, you can't ride on the freeway (highway?), ride after dark, or carry a passenger. if your state is the same I wouldn't really worry about it for now. with experience you will get more confidence. My first time on the freeway I picked a spot that is just a mile or two and rode that, It was partially because I didn't want to take an hour to ride into town with all the stop signs and lights for my 600-mile check-up.

Give it time and just take small bites. After I get back into town I am going to be taking my nephew and working with him in parking lots, he is planning on getting his permit tomorrow. He can use my car to get it if he gives me a ride to the airport after. And like the above guy said, I am going to buy some cones for him, and me to work with. I have some action cams that I can set up to see what we are doing to refine what we are doing.
 

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I second the extra riding classes! I am planning to invest in some more advanced classes once my bike & bank account are both back in action.

One thing I forgot to mention in my first comment that Briguy reminded me of: I’m not sure what state you’re in, or whether you have a permit, but be sure to check your local laws.

In Oregon, a riding permit only allows you to ride if you are riding alongside someone who is licensed. I’m sure there are other limitations as well. And riding without an endorsement in this state can amount to a $2,000 fine! I rode for about 6 months waiting for my endorsement class date, and the whole time I thought the fine was like maybe $300, but was told by my instructor that the amount changed last year. It’s worth looking into so you can plan accordingly.
 

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Went for my first ride yesterday. Just a mile around the neighborhood. Stalled out on a corner and dumped the bike! I now understand that the wheel should be straight when you stop. It appears that my 35 years of mountain biking skills are of no use.

I still have some more maintenance to do on my 15-year-old KLR that has been sitting for 6 years. For sure ride made me realize the speedometer cable and clutch cable both need lubrication. New tires and a new chain.

I am very surprised at the skill needed to shift smoothly and just to ride and to keep it off the ground.

Sounds like you're doing good, to me and being smart.
 

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Definitely normal.

I recently purchased a 2005 with the intention of turning it into a commuter/weekend warrior bike. I have a little bit of experience with some lighter dual sports, but all of my previous on-road experience was on a 1979 Vespa 125 that topped out at 55, downhill with the wind :)

By the time I had purchased the KLR, I had already taken the CHP-approved motorcycle safety training course. It was a great opportunity to develop good riding habits and practice emergency manuevering, which is something a lot of people ignore.
When I did get my hands on my new bike, I spent the first week practicing riding around town, no objective other than clocking miles, familiarizing myself with the bike, and developing situational awareness (SA). I probably put about 60mi on it just cruising around town and in between freeway exits before I started putting it into use as a commuter vehicle.

The first couple freeway jaunts were definitely a bit anxiety-inducing. Coming from the steel cage world, being on 400lbs of wheels and engine was disconcerting. I've since gotten a lot more used to it, and learned to relax on the bars. I did replace the front fender with an Acerbis supermoto unit which helped with some of the front end wobble in the wind, but between me and the tall bike, I'm still a big sail on the freeway.

Aside from the typical cautions, I would recommend focusing a lot on safety gear if you're going to be traveling on the freeway.
-Gloves - Make sure your gloves are real leather (not clarino like motocross gloves), have some hard knuckle protection, and have palm sliders. Cannot emphasize how important palm sliders are in high speed slide situations.
-Pants - Get yourself some riding pants. Even some inexpensive overpants are better than jeans, which last something like 0.1s in a slide on asphalt. I have an inexpensive set of Olympia mesh/textile overpants, and a much nicer set of Rev'It touring pants. I'll switch between the two depending on temperature, what I'm doing, and how far I'm going.
-Jacket - Not sure what you have, but make sure you get something with some good abrasion resistance. Full-mesh jackets may sound nice, but unless it's something like a Motoport kevlar mesh, it won't hold up on the pavement at speed. My heavily vented textile jacket does me fine up to 95F, and above that you want to close up the venting anyway.

Keep an eye on the advrider.com flea market (classifieds) for good used gear. Everything except my nicer pants and my helmet are second hand. If I had bought everything new, it would have cost me at least another $1000 for what I have.
 

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And as far as a class, I know our local HD dealer also has refresher courses, and have seen different levels for ADV class (except Brett Tkacs, he believes you should train everyone on the same level, just advance the terrain) I learned a lot in the class and want to take an ADV course next year, if I can, right now its Youtube of his and other How-To videos.

I have actually had my endorsement since 1995, so thought I knew a lot more than I did about street and dirt riding than I did. So when I took the course I had actually had the endorsement for 21 years. It's never too late to go and learn more. Some of the stuff might not be suitable for off-road or trail riding, that's why I watch BrettTkacs, Mototrek, and other channels to better what I can until I can afford one of Bretts ADV courses. I plan on doing everything I can to become a good rider on the pavement and the trail.

Just go slow and build up. Take what courses are available and don't do what your uncomfortable with. Only push the boundaries when you feel you have the experience to push, not when a friend riding a 250 says this table top is easy, of course, you do a whip on your KLR.
 

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Empty soda cans, beer cans & even steel food cans are FREE/Cheap & recycleable. Plus one can HEAR them when one makes an Error in riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for input, I live California so my permit allows me to ride in daylight hrs only, no passengers. Pants are my next purchase, my jacket is a tour master. I do practice in church parking lot, with their permission, right across my street.
 

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2009 KLR 650
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Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! - Gotta jump in since your story is such a close match to mine.

Maybe I can drag myself away from work long enough today to write my own introduction over in that forum sandbox - joined last August but have never posted; now, with sherf's intro, plus having already experienced a KLR (really
"my") failure and fix, well documented with photos, I need to get off my butt and join the club.

Scherf - keep at it, practice practice practice, and pay close attention to the leads the folks here provide - the combined experience on this forum and the willingness to share it is enough almost to restore my faith in humanity.

I too live in California, this is my first time riding, I geared up immediately (ATGATT, yes, I'm one of them), and only in March got my M1. As I learned to ride on the surrounding roads (country, with a small town about 6 miles away) I instinctively kept my top speed to 40 or so, with occasional stretches faster, gradually working up to considerably higher speeds on those roads where I could see a good ways. I was surprised at how quickly I relaxed and got used to the higher speeds.

I hope you can take the CMSP safety course offered here in California. By doing so and passing (it's not difficult - they even passed me, eventually, but that's a story for my intro) you avoid having to take the more difficult practical exam at the DMV. One of my mentors (riding and MC for some thirty years) took the DMV route and only passed the practical on his third try. You may do much better, of course.

The safety class was first-rate, and I hope to take at least one more advanced course from them in the future, but for now those aren't offered in my area (course site Sierra College, Rocklin).

I feel lucky to have made the KLR my starter bike and to have found this forum, and I hope you feel that way too.

- It's Not That Cold

but sometimes it is
 

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The safety class was first-rate, and I hope to take at least one more advanced course from them in the future, but for now those aren't offered in my area (course site Sierra College, Rocklin).
Hey, another Sacramento area local (I'm in Elk Grove)! Make sure you add yourself to the owner map :)

I took the intro safety course over in Mather area. Glad I did, and I'll probably take the intermediate course in a couple years. You might look into that, as it's not all that far from Rocklin.
 

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All normal. I learned on a Yamaha XT550 (Dual sport, kick start, single cylinder, tall seat, etc). I had a ball learning. I was young and fearless so I hit the highway right away. I also rode almost daily so I really shortened the learning curve.
 

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You get comfortable with seat time at your own pace. There is no cookie cutter timeline, and just be sure to have fun and be safe out there! Don't be afraid to slow it down, or push yourself on the good days.
 

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I applaud your good common sense being a new rider!
I started on a Honda mini trail (mini bike) when I was..errr...11 or so...been going at it ever since.

I also am a former Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor many moons ago when in the service.

Even so, I have taken MSF courses since, as a student, skills to ride have to be continually honed. You never stop learning and developing skills.

The BIGGEST THING...don't exceed your skills...at the cuurrent state (of riding experience) you are in...you are always building on them but starting out..get the fundamentals down pat.
THEN you can start moving ahead.

My grandson got his first bike...my advice when people ask...start small, learn in the dirt and THEN move up.
I have been witness to folks want to ride and buy HUGE powerful motorcycles and have no clue how to shift, corner, brake, counter steer, etc...they get the ginormous bike and get in way over their skill set.
Sometimes to a sad end. Or wreck it and blame the bike.

Take those basic classes to get your lisc. then follow up with advanced classes.

Videos can be useful sure, I like to read, I like motorcycles, so I read the books on methods (riding), safety stuff, all that...but each time you are riding, you are learning.
Try this, I do it often...say you go on a ride to a local state park or wherever, make a mental not of anything that felt "off" or "was not right"...I strive for a perfect ride (meaning me, braking correctly, no missed shifts, cornering , etc.)...if I have something happen..like a car or whatever cut me off...I try to recall WHY that happened...of course, the car driver did something stupid..did he not see me? If so, was I in a blind spot, was the sun in his eyes....try to pin point why and how to avoid in the future...

Ride safe, have fun, if it isn't fun, why would we do it?

I highly recommend this book, many are out there and this is a great one....I got mine off Jeff Rocket man web site if I recall...

World Poster Publication Book Font
 

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Even when you have experience, what you are doing on your bike now is good for anyone who buys a new motorcycle. I am 51 years into riding, but the KLR is my second dual sport with 30 years since the last one. Even though I have had big fast bikes, when I bought the KLR, I started slow and worked my way up to speed. There can be a big learning curve with a new motorcycle. Riding my cruiser is very different than riding my KLR. What you are doing now will be the same with every new bike, but will obviously be quicker. Learn at your own pace, get to know yourself and your bike well. It takes time.
 

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Take a class or three, I wish I did when I started out. Its so damn hard to un-train old BAD habits riding and trying to learn the right ways of doing stuff. Its not cool to speed years riding just to find out you been doing things wrong, or not the easiest way. Learn right the first time, and your fun level will be much higher. This is epecially on dirt and trails. I took a Dragoo course, looked and felt like a newb. But in the end, I thought to myself, why the hell didnt I do this long time ago.
 

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Polexican,

Sage advice, very well said.
My first BIg bike, 70s, Yamaha XS500...just outta HS..oh man was I the stuff I so thought....ahha

I had "old timers" riders..actually tell me....."take off that front brake lever, it will get you killed" "never touch it" and the like..or my fav.

"Lay it down if you think you are going to hit something"

I never did either of those things, ever, but did have an improper use method for the front brake and relied heavy on just the rear alone.
They had instilled a FEAR of the front brake.
OF course we all know the front brake is a NOT a deadly trap and is a vital aspect of safe operation....but back "in the day" (oh man, I must be getting old if using that line)..that was some of the dangerous advice given.

As to developing your own bad habits...you are dead on the money...when I took the MSF class, I was amazed at how many I had developed, from being self taught.
I knew no better. And that was some decades after I started riding bikes.
 

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I posted similarly in another thread but I thought I'd put my .02 here as well.

Until recently I hadn't ridden a street bike in 35 years. I bought a Kawasaki S3 (2 Cycle triple wheelie machine) in 1975 and rode it until it was stolen (1981?). I had a Honda CB250 when I was in college in the early mid 80's. I just purchased a Gen 3 ADV.

I just finished the CMSP training course offered by Sierra Steel HD here in Chico CA. It was well worth the $350. Four hours of classroom and two days on a 500CC Harley in the parking lot followed by a skills assessment. The class was taught by a retired CHP motorcycle officer and another guy who rides a DUC. I learned how to effectively counter steer and panic stop with someone to assess what I was doing wrong and correct it. I learned evasive maneuvers and how to make sure I have an escape rout in traffic. Much more than this. I discovered I had a lot of bad habits I had taught myself all those years ago on those other two bikes. I'm seriously considering the intermediate class where you get to ride your own bike. There is an advanced class as well.

I do practice too. The Chico Airport is a great place to practice panic stops, evasive maneuvers and counter steering. All my kids and 3/4 of the kids in Chico learned to drive there LOL.

As a side note, the instructor who is a retired CHP Motorcycle Officer owns his service bike. The CHP let him keep it when he retired.

Cloud Sky Tire Wheel Automotive tire

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Vehicle Automotive fuel system
 
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