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Old 04-12-2011, 10:09 AM   #1
kcaja1
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Default A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I finally convinced my wife with a bribe(Rolex) so I can get a motorcycle. It's been 15 years since I last rode with Yamaha seca 400 and 750 in the Philippines. (I've had a 50cc scooter in the last three years but I don't consider that a real motorcycle.)

I started looking at craigslist weeks earlier for Ninja 250s, 500s, HD 883, VStars, S50, etc. and then I saw a craigslist ad from a dealer in Manassas showing 'this' naked bike for a good price. I went and checked it out and man, it was a love at first sight. The seat height and the upright position were just what I was looking for. I felt comfortable with it the moment I sat on it and it is a 600cc which I thought would be a very capable bike and would grow with me as I get back on riding again. It's an 04 yellow 599 with 6k miles on it. Dealer said it was a trade-in a week earlier for a brand new R1 and they have checked it out, changed all the fluids and there was no sign of drops anywhere which, I believed and checked out myself.
I haggled with the price and we made a deal although I was not able to test drove it because I don't have a license yet. It was also raining last Friday so I wasn't able to bring it home that day.

The next day my wife drove me to the dealer and there it was, waiting for me. I drove it home which was about 20 miles and I felt the joy and excitement (and fear) that I've missed all these years. The bike's fit, handling and, power surprised me more. I'm glad I'm back and the best part was finding all sorts of great reviews about 'this' naked bike and that I made the right choice.

I took the motorcycle written exam yesterday and passed it and I plan to do the actual ride test this Friday.

This forum is icing on the cake.

My question to you folks is, do you think I still need the MSF basic course or should I just go the advanced classes. Keep in mind that driving 15 years ago in Manila, Philippines is like driving in New York City with more people, animals and road hazards but not so much freeways or highways. Last Saturday's drive home was actually my first long distance high speed experience. I was doing about 60 mph for a good 15 miles on a semi highway (Rt 234) and I felt a little uneasy. I think I need to ride more and slowly build my high speed confidence and skills.

Last edited by kcaja1; 04-12-2011 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Congrats on the new bike.

Do the basic course.

Yes, you do need time to build up confidence and skills again. Take 'er easy, and take nothing for granted. Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)



I didn't take the course and I was out of a bike for 5 years. If you have the time and money, do it. I won't hurt you.

Good luck with the new bike.
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I think the MSF course would be useful to help you get back to riding with the right sorts of habits - looking into turns, emergency braking procedures, etc. Plus, it's just fun. In my opinion.
Of course, I can't really give advice without knowing you.. maybe the jump straight to an intermediate or advanced class would e right for you.
I think we might have an MSF instructor or two around here, maybe they will chime in.

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Old 04-12-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Welcome and congrats on the bike

I'd echo the sentiment of everyone else and say take the course. Best money you'll ever spend on the bike, and it'll get you back up to speed again.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

You'll be surprised what you learn in a "basic" course....DO IT.

Confidence is only one of many things you'll actually gain from these courses.

*EDIT* And welcome to the addiction!
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Looks like most recommend the MSF and I'll definitely consider it although the community college offering it for $150 are all booked now for the year. The regular commercial MSF costs $350 so, there's a big difference.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

kcaja1. What they said mate.

I had 18 years away and didn't take a basic refresher course (or advanced!). Looking back now, a basic would have helped to give me a baseline and encouraged me to move on to an advanced. Instead, I found a website that helped returnees like me and just went out and practised the tips they gave. I'd say it took me about 3 months for all of the old basic skills to come back and feel truly comfortable and confident about what I was doing. I'd just forgotten so much and the behaviour of traffic had changed over the intervening period (I'd still been driving, but hadn't really noticed!). Often, situations would arise and I'd get a memory jog of how I used to deal with them (after the fact of course). Probably not the most sensible approach lol and looking back, it would have been pretty easy to have knocked my confidence, which would have been a disaster. It would really have been so much easier and brought my riding skills back faster, to have just done a basic course and moved on from there.

To be honest, I'm back riding 2 years now and have packed a lot in, but I'm still on the learning curve. I'm starting to get the feeling you never really get off it with bike riding and that's no bad thing and part of the fun. We really do end up being a skillful bunch. My car driving is certainly a lot better for it. I had to laugh yesterday when a passenger pointed out I was hitting all my apex's lol.

You're already doing the right thing (which I didn't) and thinking about basic or advanced. If you've not already, maybe just find a website where you can run through the basics again, if there are no courses available just yet. No loss if you find you're already up to that standard. I see you have been riding a scooter, so you're roadcraft should be pretty good anyway. This site helped me a lot, it's easy reading and easy going. It's euro-centric, in terms of the law, but I'm sure there are similar types of sites out there for the states. It does give you the basic knowledge you need to ride safely at speed (or quicker than your scooter probably did).

http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/startridingagain/

Your post really reminded me of the same thrill I got, when I released the clutch and pulled away from the kerb a couple of years ago. Hence I'm blabbering on. Good fun being back on a bike, isn't it.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Whats up Woodbridge,

Congratulations. I'm sure you'll love the bike and your wife will be jealous of it.
- First things first. Riding in the Philippines and riding in the USA are very different and the MSF class exposes you to strategies to help you succeed on the roads you will be using in the near future. Safety Tip: do not ride your bike until you have completed your MSF course with a proper refresher riding course. Seems harsh but it's not, you didn't ride for 15 years so a few more weeks won't kill you and you might avoid some tears mate.

- Concentrate on gathering up some quality gear. The good stuff. Proper riding boots, pants, jacket, gloves. All of it. Then use it. Always.

Hornet riding tips that work for me:
- While getting used to it remember to keep your weight forward in a semi-aggresive riding position. The 599 can pull pretty hard so don't get caught with a loose back.

- It's not a particularly light bike. Be aware that when sitting on it at a standstill it has a tip-over point of no return, unlike a scooter. You're only option is to pull a few back muscles while trying to make the drop as gentle as possible. T-Rex Frame sliders are your friend.

- Tranny. quick, assertive shifts with the toe. It's not the smoothest gear box so expect some clunks. If adjusted correctly the clutch lever needs only a slight pull when shifting. When rolling to a stop engaged 1st before you come to a standstill. Finding 1st or neutral when stopped is tricky sometimes. Welcome.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Take the MSF basic. I've met new/returning riders of all ages and skills in the last year, and not one regrets taking the course. Always good to have a refresher, it's quick, and here in TN it counts as your driver's test.

On a personal note, I lived in Woodbridge/Dale City when I was a lil' pup and went to Neabsco for a couple years. Army brat.

Welcome!
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I took my MSF course from a community college in Manassas. That might be one more venue to look into.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I will take this instead 'Basic Course Refresh/Skills Practice' and the description is more what I'm looking for....

This course is designed to provide more "parking lot" practice. The skills practiced entail overall
control of the motorcycle while operating at low speeds, and in limited spaces. Time is also spent
reviewing and practicing techniques for stopping a motorcycle in the shortest distance possible
while maintaining control, practice maneuvering the motorcycle accurately to avoid hazards, and
proper cornering techniques (all are skill sets noticeably absent in motorcyclists involved in
crashes). The emphasis is on continued skill development.
Instruction will comprise approximately 4 hours in a parking lot riding various exercises designed
by MSF. Enrollment will be limited to 12 students in a class with two instructors.
There is NO classroom work and NO formal testing. However, if you are able to successfully ride
all of the practice exercises Apex will issue the MSF ERC Skills Practice Course Completion
Certificate.This class is designed to provide you (the customer) with more riding practice on your
motorcycle or scooter (or Apex's training motorcycles).
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Welcome yo.. all good advice. And i hear ya on the class being sold out.. It usually sells out quick around here too. That one you chose sounds pretty good too.

Good luck..
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Welcome to the forum! I'm in Alexandria, we should grab a ride sometime. Once you get farther south we have some great roads to hit, due east of Fredericksburg (hugging the coast almost) there are a ton of farm roads with no people. Caroline County also has some nice hideaways.

Anyway, on to riding and being safe. I'd call Apex see if they'll let you take the ERC course. You'll get a lot more out of it, and it's designed with people like you in mind.

I have a crazy project I'm working on right now, but will probably send you a PM in a week or two to go out for a ride. Until then, ride safe.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I work in Alexandria in Kingstowne in the office building next to Bonefish Grill. I'm taking that class where you can have the ERC after. I'm also taking the DMV road skill test tomorrow.
I also ordered all the riding gear online and they should be here next week. I'd like to ride the area you mentioned but we gotta take easy.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Another Virginia 599 owner!
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcaja1 View Post
I work in Alexandria in Kingstowne in the office building next to Bonefish Grill. I'm taking that class where you can have the ERC after. I'm also taking the DMV road skill test tomorrow.
I also ordered all the riding gear online and they should be here next week. I'd like to ride the area you mentioned but we gotta take easy.


I'd much rather ride with someone who wants to take it easy and has a good head on their shoulders than a nutjob who needs to be 3x the speed limit to have fun.

Next weekend is Easter (I think) but maybe the weekend after we can grab a decent ride. Stay safe and make sure your gear fits well, it won't protect you well if it doesn't fit right.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:39 AM   #18
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

I took the DMV road test today and I passed despite I put my foot twice at the slalom. I thought that was over but we kept going so, I was thinking I still had a chance. Finally, after all the tests he told me I passed. In one test, before I started, the bolt that holds the gear lever fell off. I fixed it right away and again, I thought the test was over due to mechanical issue. I was glad that it happened there instead of the freeway. I'm now relieved that it's over.
I've also put 600+ miles in a month. I'm now thinking of ditching my 2nd car and use this for commuting (45 miles round trip). Does anybody use theirs to commute?
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #19
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Welcome to the forum!

I commute on mine. The tricky part is dressing right. When I leave in the morning it's really cold and when I get back it can get pretty hot. That and trying to keep my fancy clothes looking good.

I would recommend getting some kind of overpant in the morning. It keeps bug guts off your nice pants and keeps you warm. I just use some thin snow pants. On my way home I toss it in my backpack along with my jacket liner.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: A bike after 15 years (Woodbridge, VA)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcaja1 View Post
Does anybody use theirs to commute?
i do when I'm bored. i would ride to work more if they had motorcycle parking, i dont like parking it in a sea of SUV's

I would take the MSF class for shits and giggles & an insurance discount. i laughed talking to a few guys in the class that bought top dollar Harley's and BMW's to learn how to ride.
u made a good choice and welcome to the site
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