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Top 10 Riding Tips For Beginners

18946 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  HValkrider
Since this is such a great beginners bike, I thought it would if you guys got some advice and tips through this article

There are countless guides and tons of advices out there on the net, sometimes offering contradictory information and causing greater confusion. Hopefully this rather brief piece will clear out some things. While the present article must not be taken as the ultimate riding guide for beginners, it can shed some light in certain matters which are sometimes overlooked.

1. Gear up


If you’ve been interested in bikes for some time now, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of riders are all geared up. Since beginners don’t have their instincts trained well enough, they’re clearly more prone to dropping the bikes or getting involved in crashes. That’s why any person who is right in their mind will never get on a bike without protective gear.

We definitely have to get one thing straight: the better the gear you buy, the more protection it will offer… up to a point. Forking out the big bucks on top-drawer protective gear does not eliminate danger from your path.

Switching a $100 helmet for a $500 one does not mean the asphalt will become any softer, nor that gravity will just forget to act when it’s your turn to hit the ground. We all fall the same way, give or take. While it is of course, better to avoid the falling part, making sure you’ve got something between your body and the concrete of the highway is crucial.

Helmets are mandatory in most countries and states, and no matter what some anti-helmet law supporters say, statistics don’t lie: helmets save lives and they’re on your head for a very serious reason. Make sure you wear your helmet every time you get on the bike.

Now, another consideration on helmets: wearing an unlocked or a poorly locked helmet equals to almost wearing no helmet at all when the day’s luck runs out.

Taking a look at some accidents of guys wearing unlocked helmets should scare you into being very careful locking yours: wobbling alone is powerful enough to send an unlocked helmet flying off your head and leaving you unprotected just when you need this the most.

At the same time, a poorly locked helmet will usually fly off your head at a minor impact. Or it can just roll causing more damage instead of helping you. Choosing a helmet with a proper fit minimizes the rolling risks and will offer the best protection. Please be advised that a braincap offers significantly lower protection than a full-face one, or a flip-up model. Likewise, wearing your flip-up/ modular helmet locked in could be a good idea, especially if you’re in your first miles.

Gloves, boots and all

Protective clothing comes with several advantages, such as: shielding you from wind and rain (waterproof series), debris and insects on the road, offers some cushioning to break your fall (critical areas are reinforced and padded) and offers excellent abrasion-resistance in case you spill.

Die-hard ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) fans of wearing protective gear will advise young riders to do the same. While there is nothing bad in being properly geared, most experienced riders agree that gearing all up for 6 mile daily commuting is exaggerated.

Of course, when things go bad, they’ll quickly jump in with the “I told you” phrase… and you wish you had all the gear on you, but once again: try this during the insanely hot summer days and get back to us in a week…

Now then, motorcycling was never cheap and it will never be, most likely, so if you can afford , you could try and go for an all-season jacket. These jackets come with a 3-layer structure. The outer one is made from Cordura, it’s quite breathable and may even come with handy zippered vents on forearms, chest, arm-shoulder joint, or in the back.

They offer a fairly decent protection against wind and will gladly grind against asphalt, saving your skin. They also come with a detachable waterproof liner offering excellent rain and wind protection, and a third layer, closest to you, acting like a thermal barrier and shielding you from the cold in the inclement autumn days. Matching trousers are also available.

Depending on the ride you’re planning you could decide to wear touring boots and racing gloves. If you’re planning a trip to the convenience store 2 blocks away on the 3rd of July, gearing up with racing boots may be a bit overkill, set aside the fact that they’re not at all comfortable for walking around.

It’s hard to decide how much gear should you load on yourself, but after the first rides you’ll definitely start to learn and figure out for yourselves what’s best for summer, if you can stand a bit of rain without jumping in your storm-suit and so on.

Keyword : a properly locked helmet. Even if you fall and get some bruises or pipe burns, it’s always better to have at least your head protected as good as possible.
Tip: take your time when buying your helmet. Ask for professionals’ help, maybe read some reviews on the internet, and don’t be cheap. Your helmet is probably the most important piece of gear for any motorcycle rider.

2. Don’t go with the flow

As tempting it may be after the first miles on your bike, don’t try anything funky. Not now, not after the next 100 miles; you’re a greenhorn, no matter how skilled you may sometimes feel you are. Some of the nastiest accidents occur because this simple cause: new riders trying to do things which are way out of their reach. Add in speeding and you can almost hear your family sobbing. So just don’t try anything!

It’s always a great idea to ride with just one or two friends or maybe your instructor (you can also have a beer once the bikes are safe in the garage), a motorcyclist in your family or anything like that. Someone you get along with, with decent riding experience.

Why just one or two? Because you don’t know how to ride in a group; in fact you’re barely riding, so you need space for hesitant, wider turns, longer stops to slowly build your confidence, and you also need to feel free from excessive criticism, being able to focus on riding and not on how others see you.

And if the guy or guys you’re riding with are just pressing you to throttle up, then you should ride with other guys. That is, if you don’t do 15 mph where any other beginner could or should do more. If you feel this is not for you, it’s back to some training, maybe.

Speed is indeed enthralling and seeing others ride fast may seem easy. It’s no rocket science, but you should not heed those asking you to do 80 mph just to catch up with them. In fact, a good guy to ride with in the first miles is one who does not ask of you to do anything you feel like not doing.

If you’re slow in the turns, he or she would better see if you’re ok, if you’re afraid, if there are questions already popping in your head. If he or she goes the “speed up, you chicken!” way, then you’d be better off alone.

There is no forced, fast-forward learning: you hook up with that guy to build up confidence, see the way the other rider turns, leans, brakes, passes and so on. Or vice versa, to have that experienced rider driving behind you to see how you do all these things and come up with a friendly knock on your helmet or necessary corrections, as needed.

Keyword: confidence. During your first hundreds of miles you’re to see how things really are in daily traffic. You have to get the basic info on what riding in traffic really is all about. You don’t have to prove anything to nobody, and you don’t have to impress anyone. Riding to the extent of your (altogether increasing) skills is the way to go.

Tip: carefully choose the ones you start riding with, as they will have a major imprint on your initial riding style.
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Is the Valkyrie really a bike for beginners though? Not sure if it would be my recommendation.

Learning to ride can be hard though since you can't really carry a passenger. Great to have tops for people just starting out. I think gear is the most important part of starting out. More important than the bike itself in some ways.
I agree with Bebo, although it ain't a sport or super sport it does take some experience to ride a bull like the Valkyrie. Especially with so much weight I doubt any beginner would be ready to balance this thing. The worst situation a new rider might find with a heavy bike is in full traffic.

My recommendation would be trying to start out in a Shadow 250 or even maybe a 500.

I would not say the Valk is a good beginners bike

heavy and a bit powerful

not to say its not possible
I would not say the Valk is a good beginners bike

heavy and a bit powerful

not to say its not possible
Not for beginners but i think there's a good chance that some newbs will jump right onto it. I think as long as they understand the bike and understand they really need to ease into it... it shouldn't be too much of a problem
I think that it might be a bigger deal how the owner rides and how responsible he is regardless of what bike he is riding. Safety first!

Are any of you guys beginners who are thinking of buying the Valkyrie?
the valk is kinda heavy

i think that is more the primary concern for starting off
the valk is kinda heavy

i think that is more the primary concern for starting off
Yup, it's much easier to start off with something that's truly an entry level model and get used to that, then level up, and start with a used bike. I wouldn't risk it with the F6c
and on the opposite end

here are 10 mistakes a beginner can make

Mistake #1: SKIPPED THE MSF BASIC RIDER COURSE --- If you must make every mistake in the book please do not make this one. The MSF Basic RiderCourse will reward you with the essentials you must have before you ever get out in the traffic on your motorcycle.

Mistake #2: DON’T BUY A SPORTSTER ---If you are a new rider or a re-entry rider, we all make this mistake. Your first motorcycle should be a "starter" motorcycle. Get a used Japanese cruiser, 250 to 500 cc. It is light weight, easy to handle and cheap. Find out if riding a motorcycle is really what you want to do. If not sell it. If you are still jazzed after 3,000 miles, now you are experienced enough to make an informed Harley purchase.

Mistake #3: LOST FOCUS --- You are not in a car. You cannot afford to go ten miles daydreaming about your sweetie, your job or anything else but the task at hand. Stay focused on riding. I cannot say enough about this. It can be a life and death mistake!

Mistake #4: WEAR THE PROPER RIDER GEAR --- I know it’s hot. I know it’s just six blocks to the store. Never get on your motorcycle without the proper gear. The asphalt doesn’t care if you have been riding five minutes or five hours, it’s still awful **** hard and unforgiving. (Check out my matrix.)

Mistake #5: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR BIKE BEFORE YOU RIDE --- Check your tire pressure. Make a visual check. Do you have gas? Are your bungee tie downs secured? Stuff happens, things change and it is too tempting to just hop on and fire it up. Two minutes spent checking can save you hours with a tow truck or an ambulance ride.

Mistake #6: RAN OUT OF GAS --- Check the gas gauge? Sure, but experience will have you checking the gauge and the mileage. You know how many miles you have in your tank and there always isn’t a gas station around every bend. Running out of gas is not only embarrassing and time consuming but on a motorcycle, it can be downright dangerous.

Mistake #7: OUTRIDING YOUR SKILL LEVEL --- New riders aren’t even sure what their skill level actually is let alone when they are outriding it. Statistically, outriding your skill level is a leading cause of solo motorcycle crashes. If you don’t know your skill level, find out and don’t find out the hard way by outriding it.

Mistake #8: UNDERSTAND "GO WHERE YOU LOOK" --- Is this a phenomenon or a law of physics? I don’t know and I don’t care. I just know that it is 100% absolutely the truth, your motorcycle will go where you are looking. Look ahead at the apex of a curve and you will track right there. Look at that tree on the side of the road and oh well, "Hello" tree.

Mistake #9: IGNORED THE BUFFER ZONE --- They can’t hit you if your not there! Stay away from cars. Don’t be ridiculous about it, but even in heavy traffic, you can always maintain some buffer zone around you. Anticipate the soccer mom in the SUV, on a cell phone, changing lanes right into you. You know she is going to do it so keep your buffer zone and stay alive.

Mistake #10: DIDN’T UNDERSTAND COUNTER STEERING --- Want to go left? Push the left bar. Go right? Push the right bar. Hey, it’s not a bicycle so don’t try to ride it like a bicycle. Practice, practice and practice are the three things you must do to master this technique.
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And the key thing from that is the course, you do that and you're set, a lot to be learned.
alot of it is common sense and being aware of your surroundings

the rest of it is having good technique and having your mind in the right place to know what is worth it and what is not.
alot of it is common sense and being aware of your surroundings

the rest of it is having good technique and having your mind in the right place to know what is worth it and what is not.
Yup, too bad common sense isn't common :D
Ive seen so many dashcam videos online at this point that show that drivers and riders have no common sense. They seem completely unaware of their surroundings often times. They literally just do a straight b-line and crash into things.

The sad thing is the people who are likely to read tips like these are already concerned about safety, its the people who are unsafe who need to read these, and they have no interest.
those folks probably dont use the internet very much anyways
At least being a rider thats mindful of how you ride, when you hop back into a car, you're a better driver, being extra defensive
all good tips. Several years ago I ran across a video on Youtube regarding Smydsy crashes. I have practiced this maneuver when approaching a car entering the highway. It made sense to me..
I bought a brand new 2014 Valkyrie last year for my very first street bike. The very first street bike I rode was two years ago and that was a 2014 Victory Cross Country Tour (full dresser). So it is very possible to buy a Valkyrie for your first bike as long as you have some common sense and take a "motorcycle safety course" (basic riders course). I would not have wanted to start out on anything less than the Valk. The Suzuki 250s that we rode in the motorcycle safety course were very slow and I feel not as safe for pulling out into traffic on the highway (55 mph speed limit) and also had weak braking. Most important thing is whatever your first bike is, go to a back road (less vehicles around) and practice your "panic braking" (hard braking) on a frequent basis. Especially if your bike is not equipped with ABS brakes it's important to get a good feel for how hard you can grab the brakes without locking up your tires. Otherwise the first time you encounter a "panic stop" situation out on the public roads with traffic you would be more likely to lock up the front tire and dump (crash) the bike in a situation that you could've made it out of unscathed without incident. Get out and ride, but also PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
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