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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
pah
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new rider questions/suggestions

Hey all,

I am planning on picking up a 09 vulcan 900 custom from a good friend within this month.

There are a few items I have questions before I start going through the forum:

My goal is to try on a bunch of gear at the Chicago bike show.
1. what gear should I get?
- i have boots and various gloves but nothing motorcycle specific.
- should i get a modular or full face helmet
- assuming a mesh jacked would be best for summer


I asked around work and everyone just says since your a new rider stick with a full face until you get experience. Some people are for modular and other said to avoid it as its not as safe.
Sizing is confusing to me which is why I wanted to try them at the bike show this month.
My issue is that i tend to buy a bunch of expensive stuff when its not really cost effective and this time I am going to wait for the show.

2. maintenance
- should i go to the dealer to get the bike checked fully and worked on
- I am purchasing the bike from a good friend that is super ocd about this bike.
- what should i do myself and how often ( oil change, etc)

My buddy said that these are the original tires and ill want to replace them but the bike has 6k miles on it.
I am assuming i should be checking or running maintenance x amount of rides.

3. when is a good time to take the wife with on the bike. ( i know i need lots of practice )


Thanks
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 10:41 AM
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1. A couple of pair of good gloves are vital- nice lighter weight leather or kevlar for summer, insulated touring gauntlets for cooler weather or rain.
Wear whatever helmet you are comfortable with. I have a full face I use for rain and excessive wind or cold, a shorty I wear most of the time, but I'm getting a 3/4 for the in-between times and for cruising around town, where 90% of accidents occur. I don't like to skimp on head protection. Yeah, you can get DOT approved helmets at WalMart for 40 bucks, but I don't know that I'd trust it in an accident. Leg protection is a good idea too, especially on highways or freeways, as I have been pelted with sticks, rocks, large insects at 70 MPH, a cup of ice someone in front of me pitched out the window without looking behind them, and worst of all, spray from a cattle truck. We get a lot of livestock rigs here out west, which is why I like heavy leather over mesh because it won't soak in that messy slop from the trucks like mesh does and it washes off easier. Whatever your choice of protection, as they say, dress for the slide, not the ride, because few are the motorcycle riders with a ton of miles under their belts who have never laid a bike down.

2. I'd avoid dealerships. Not to step on anyone's toes, but the dealers here are horrible, full of salesmen who might have been selling floor covering last year (as in one dealership here) and mechanics who just got out of school and haven't had a lot of experience with carbs (which my bike has). They work on everything from dirt bikes to crotch rockets to watersport crafts to ATVs. My last two trips to dealers cost me 112 and 177 dollars, respectively, that I did not need to spend. That is not to say there might not be good guys at your dealerships. Find other metric bike riders in your area and ask them where they take their bike. In that way, I was able to find a guy who has worked on nothing but Japanese bikes out of his garage for over 20 years. He does a great job, and charges me about half of what a shop would in labor. Oil I do myself; I use full synthetic and since because of work I only ride these days about 4 or 5k a season, it lasts the entire season.

As for tires, it is not so much mileage but age that is a factor. If the bike sits, especially on bare concrete, rubber rot can set in. I got a 1981 KZ750 from my brother in law years ago. It had been sitting in his garage for 8 years. The rear tire was brand new, he told me, and it looked it. I got the bike home and had the carbs all rebuilt etc and new sprockets and chain. I took it out for a hundred mile or so day ride. When I got home, I parked it and went to get the mail. Walking back up the driveway, I saw a skunk stripe on the rear tire. The rubber had literally worn away down to the cords and steel belts. I had just been flying down the freeway at 75 prior to that. Lesson learned.

3. I wouldn't ride 2 up, especially on a bike as heavy as a 9, until I 1) passed a motorcycle safety course and 2) had a couple thousand miles under my belt to get the feel of it. Regardless, you should definitely take the Motorcycle Safety Course. It may even get you a break on insurance as well.

Hope this helps and welcome to the world of flying without leaving the ground!
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you for the awesome reply. Both my wife and I took and passed the MSF in Dekalb. Great class and I enjoyed it. The 2up wont happen anytime soon.

Ill have to ask around about shops as Im in Joliet, IL and there are a ton of bikers riding through my area.

Thanks again

Last edited by pah; 02-02-2017 at 10:55 AM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pah View Post
Wow, thank you for the awesome reply. Both my wife and I took and passed the MSF in Dekalb. Great class and I enjoyed it. The 2up wont happen anytime soon.

Ill have to ask around about shops as Im in Joliet, IL and there are a ton of bikers riding through my area.

Thanks again
My suggestion to you as a new rider, is to practice counter steering until you do it as natural as walking. They touched on this in your MSF training but it's not something you learn at parking lot speeds. I watch these you tubes of new riders trying to force the bike in the direction of the turn and the aftermath shock as the bike does just the opposite as they careen off the side of the road or crash into guard rails. Watch some videos on counter steering and then go out and learn it. Once you do, you will truly enjoy your bike rides. Plus it really doesn't take long to learn either.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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appreciate it, ill check out those videos. It was very awkward during the class until the final day where it was smooth but I totally agree that practicing this is needed.

thanks again
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 03:08 PM
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1. Bare minimum - helmet, jacket, and gloves. Full face helmet to start at least. And you don't have to spend a bunch to get a good quality helmet. Check out here for info on sizing.

Mesh jackets come in handy on super hot days. But they suck when the temps dip in the mid 60's. I freeze my cojones below that. Check out the closeout sections of gear sites like Revzilla and Motorcyclegear. You can find good gear at good prices.

As for gloves, I started out with a comfy set of deerskin gloves before I found what I liked in motorcycle gloves. They won't last years or keep you from breaking bones, but they are cheap and will protect you from road rash.

2. Like a lot of folks here, I tend to avoid dealers. Basic maintenance (oil, brakes, etc) you can do yourself with ease. There are tons of YouTube how-to videos out there. The owners manual will tell you the change intervals. For bigger jobs, ask other local riders and you should be able to find a respectable shop near you.

3. Realize a bike will handle differently with a passenger on board. Longer stopping distance, heavier at slow speeds, etc. Give yourself a few months and a good 2-3 thousand miles to get acclimated. The MSF is a great start, but it's just that. A starting point. It doesn't mean you are an experienced rider. You'll realize this after your first pucker moment.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 03:45 PM
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1) Gear is so important. At the very least get some Kevlar jeans, a textile jacket (Roland Sands make good looking ones and are on sale at www.revzilla.com) and some gloves that have palm and knuckle protection, and nice boots. All can be had for around $500 if you do it right.

I personally use a full face helmet - we happen to be in a patch of cooler weather here in SoCal, so I don't know how I'll fare in warmer weather, it was really hot last summer.

I have a neat mesh jacket from Street & Steel that I got for $140 @ Revzilla that is very cool, comes with a vest hoodie and INCLUDES armor. Great deal.

Here's what I have (you can search for and find all of these at Revzilla):
Roland Sands Tracker Jacket
Roland Sands Cassidy Jacket
Street & Steel Freebird Mesh Jacket
Street & Steel Oakland Riding Jeans
Rev'it Monster 2 Gloves
Bell Bullitt Full Helmet
Redwing Iron Ranger boots are my riding boots for now. I can't seem to find one in my size (13) that fit my personal style.

2) Most dealers are there for one thing: to prey on the mechanically un-inclined and people with deep pockets. Avoid if you can do oil changes and other small stuff yourself.

3) I wouldn't ride 2 up quite yet, get used to the bike first.

Ride safe!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 05:01 PM
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Asking a generic question like, "What gear should I get?" without much information is going to be hard to answer. Yes, mesh is good in the summer, up to a certain point, then it's just hot no matter what. Do you want mesh or would you rather have leather or textile? Do you expect to get caught in the rain sometime?

Generally speaking, I would point you towards brands like Icon, Joe Rocket, and Tourmaster, who make decent gear that won't bankrupt you. In addition to other stuff, they make mesh jackets will removable cold weather and rain liners, so you essentially have 3 different jackets all in one shell. Most of them also make pants with the same setup. Maybe that isn't the way you want to go with gear, but just an idea. The truth is that your first set of gear is very unlikely to be your last. As you realize you like/don't like certain things about your current gear, and/or your riding style changes, the closet will start to fill up.

I don't understand the whole, "Get a full face helmet until you get some experience" thing. If you like a full face, wear a full face. If you don't, don't. Try on a bunch of different styles and see what you like. I wear a modular or dual sport (full face) helmet, depending on the conditions, because that's what I like to wear, but I have worn 1/2 and 3/4 helmets before. There are advantages and disadvantages to each so think about how you expect to ride and what you want. Keep in mind that different brands and different models fit different head shapes, so try on until you find one you are comfortable with. Don't just think that, "That Brand A in a medium fit me, so this Brand B in a medium will be fine." Try them on. When you find one you think you like, see if you can wear it around for a few minutes. Sometimes what's comfortable to try on develops hot spots after being worn for a while.

As far as finding deals on gear, watch craigslist. Seriously. Sometimes people buy new gear, and after a few rides, realize it was a mistake, and want to sell it. Just be smart when buying used gear. Also keep an eye on the big sites for closeout deals. That's where I get most of my stuff. Other than my most recent helmet and boots purchases, that's where a huge chunk of my gear comes from.

Beyond that, good luck with everything. Hopefully you can find somebody who will help you out with basic maintenance. Most riders will do that for somebody just starting out. I know I have, and I've given away gear that I didn't need to new riders. Good luck again. Ride safe.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloody sunday View Post
1) Gear is so important. At the very least get some Kevlar jeans, a textile jacket (Roland Sands make good looking ones and are on sale at www.revzilla.com) and some gloves that have palm and knuckle protection, and nice boots. All can be had for around $500 if you do it right.

I personally use a full face helmet - we happen to be in a patch of cooler weather here in SoCal, so I don't know how I'll fare in warmer weather, it was really hot last summer.

I have a neat mesh jacket from Street & Steel that I got for $140 @ Revzilla that is very cool, comes with a vest hoodie and INCLUDES armor. Great deal.

Here's what I have (you can search for and find all of these at Revzilla):
Roland Sands Tracker Jacket
Roland Sands Cassidy Jacket
Street & Steel Freebird Mesh Jacket
Street & Steel Oakland Riding Jeans
Rev'it Monster 2 Gloves
Bell Bullitt Full Helmet
Redwing Iron Ranger boots are my riding boots for now. I can't seem to find one in my size (13) that fit my personal style.

2) Most dealers are there for one thing: to prey on the mechanically un-inclined and people with deep pockets. Avoid if you can do oil changes and other small stuff yourself.

3) I wouldn't ride 2 up quite yet, get used to the bike first.

Ride safe!
my co-worder recommended the redwing boots mainly because they are super comfortable off the bike. ill be checking out the items you have.
Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graybush View Post
Asking a generic question like, "What gear should I get?" without much information is going to be hard to answer. Yes, mesh is good in the summer, up to a certain point, then it's just hot no matter what. Do you want mesh or would you rather have leather or textile? Do you expect to get caught in the rain sometime?

Generally speaking, I would point you towards brands like Icon, Joe Rocket, and Tourmaster, who make decent gear that won't bankrupt you. In addition to other stuff, they make mesh jackets will removable cold weather and rain liners, so you essentially have 3 different jackets all in one shell. Most of them also make pants with the same setup. Maybe that isn't the way you want to go with gear, but just an idea. The truth is that your first set of gear is very unlikely to be your last. As you realize you like/don't like certain things about your current gear, and/or your riding style changes, the closet will start to fill up.

I don't understand the whole, "Get a full face helmet until you get some experience" thing. If you like a full face, wear a full face. If you don't, don't. Try on a bunch of different styles and see what you like. I wear a modular or dual sport (full face) helmet, depending on the conditions, because that's what I like to wear, but I have worn 1/2 and 3/4 helmets before. There are advantages and disadvantages to each so think about how you expect to ride and what you want. Keep in mind that different brands and different models fit different head shapes, so try on until you find one you are comfortable with. Don't just think that, "That Brand A in a medium fit me, so this Brand B in a medium will be fine." Try them on. When you find one you think you like, see if you can wear it around for a few minutes. Sometimes what's comfortable to try on develops hot spots after being worn for a while.

As far as finding deals on gear, watch craigslist. Seriously. Sometimes people buy new gear, and after a few rides, realize it was a mistake, and want to sell it. Just be smart when buying used gear. Also keep an eye on the big sites for closeout deals. That's where I get most of my stuff. Other than my most recent helmet and boots purchases, that's where a huge chunk of my gear comes from.

Beyond that, good luck with everything. Hopefully you can find somebody who will help you out with basic maintenance. Most riders will do that for somebody just starting out. I know I have, and I've given away gear that I didn't need to new riders. Good luck again. Ride safe.
the helmet part makes sense to me, i just have to try as much as i can at the bike show thats coming up. Ill bring the wife so that she can keep me on check with how much a spend or ill end up spending as much as the bike cost me

How would one know if a helmet was compromised from craigslist ? i was considering that as an option for everything except the helmet.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 08:17 PM
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How would one know if a helmet was compromised from craigslist ? i was considering that as an option for everything except the helmet.
You won't. Even if it doesn't show any external signs, the internal foam could be damaged. I was going to put, "Don't buy a used helmet off Craigslist or you'll go straight to hell. " in my earlier post but took it out. I've done it, just to test the fit of a new helmet without paying full price for it. Wore it a few times then sold it for what I paid for it...and bought a brand new one.

Yeah, it's really easy to go overboard on gear or just accumulate a ton of crap over time. My normal street/mostly street riding gear (HJC helmet, Olympia pants and jacket, Scorpion gloves, Forma boots) totals over $1000, and I got half of it on closeout. That doesn't include dirt gear or extra jackets, gloves, and miscellani I have sitting around.
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