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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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
 

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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
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. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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. :eek:
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #9
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

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 :grin2:

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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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. :grin2:" 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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Discussion Starter #12
Im glad asked these questions as generic as they may have been. I feel that knowing what kind of gear a few of you have will steer me in the right direction.

Anyone here from IL ? There are a ton of riders by my location especially on route 59 although I see more Harley's.
 

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Pah -- thanks for starting this thread and helping generate a WHOLE BUNCH of terrific info! I'm just getting back into riding -- oh, lawzy! -- a LARGE bike after 7 years on Vespas of varying sizes...and a l-o-n-g gap since riding my last cafe racer. Every response to your post has helped me, too, and made me think. That's why I'm always impressed with this group. The info in the forums is top notch, and the folks here can't be beat. Thanks to ALL of you for passing along your tips to Pah, to me, to all of us!

Victor
 

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Full face definitely, forever. Mesh jacket with liner is good 40 to 110 degrees. Find OSI, the most practical imo. Kevlar shreds too, not worth the $$. Mesh & lined pants with knee, & hip armor good idea, again OSI. 100 bucks each jacket & pants. Or, leather jacket & chaps for cold. Check pawn or antique shops for old cycle jackets. Thick leather & good pocjets, flaps, etc. Great gloves a must. Bought Olympia with Wind tek gauntlets let me ride to 19 degrees, but bike bandits brand armored gloves for summer. ALWAYS wear hand protection & good boots that fit snug -won't come off in a wreck. Riding 43 years, 4 bikes, knowledge + experience = wisdom.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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After an off-duty firefighter tried to kill my daughter by making a fast left turn right in front of her last October 6th, I have a couple of observations:

1. A bright full face helmet. I admit to wearing 3/4 and half helmets in the hot summer here. But after the accident I bought each of us Bell florescent lime green full face helmets. People have remarked on how visible mine is.

2. Adequate insurance. Idiot firefighter, who should know better, had only $ 50,000 liability insurance. Medical costs to date total $365,625.50. Since Zero and Nancy Pelosi made sure we can't afford health insurance, my underinsured motorist coverage was critical. I stupidly only had $ 100,000 coverage for our bikes. I have since increased that to either $ 250 or $ 300K, can't remember which right now. I also increased my medical payments coverage to $ 10,000. In any case, we have managed to get all of the bills paid.

My daughter is doing well. She started walking again for Christmas and the broken bones are healing.

Both my daughter and her passenger were wearing full face helmets. Without a helmet, her passenger would have been killed. Without a full face helmet, the damage to his face would have been severe. As it was, the face guard on the helmet broke and his lips were bruised. He had no broken bones, so his recovery was fairly rapid.

The other protective gear is far less important, neither of them suffered any significant injuries that would have been prevented by jacket, gloves or chaps in that particular accident. I am not saying not to get and use that gear, we have and use all of it, I am saying a good helmet comes a long ways first.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So I had a chance to try on a ton of helmets at a cycle gear shop by me. I have some large ears and they feel raw after trying a bunch. Tried. Shoei, agv, icon, sedici, bell, Hjc, ls2. So far the only size that fits well Shoei rf1200 in medium. Not only did it hurt going on but taking off but aside from my ears it was super comfy. Modular was the easiest because i was able to easily pull apart the helmet with straps. I'm really torn due to my ear issue now. Hjc was really comfortable even for ears but felt so cheap imo.

Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
 

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So I had a chance to try on a ton of helmets at a cycle gear shop by me. I have some large ears and they feel raw after trying a bunch. Tried. Shoei, agv, icon, sedici, bell, Hjc, ls2. So far the only size that fits well Shoei rf1200 in medium. Not only did it hurt going on but taking off but aside from my ears it was super comfy. Modular was the easiest because i was able to easily pull apart the helmet with straps. I'm really torn due to my ear issue now. Hjc was really comfortable even for ears but felt so cheap imo.

Sent from my SM-N920T using Tapatalk
If you wear a head cover (doo-rag, bandanna, etc.) and pull it down over your ears before pulling the helmet on, it helps a lot. I never wear a helmet without a cover partially for that reason (also to absorb sweat).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
ill have to test them out a couple more times for sure.

On a side note, are there sliders for the 900 vulcan custom ?
I was looking around and not sure if thats an option or worth getting

Thanks again
 

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I am a new rider as well and just bought my 900 vulcan custom back in October. I will second the mesh jacket with a liner. Since buying the bike I have had the chance to ride in weather from 35 to about 85 and the jacket has served well. Without the liner on the 85 days it was pretty warm if I wasn't moving but the vents helped a bunch while I was riding. With the liner it kept me plenty warm on the colder days.

While only riding street the last few months I have rode off road for over 20 years and as others have said, try them on. I have found different brands range in size where some I need an X Large, some a large. I have even seen this with the same brands.

I have also taken the safety class and still have yet to out the better half on the bike with me, I am still waiting to get more acclimated to the motorcycle.

If you have an mechanical ability I wouldn't worry so much about the shop. With all the youtube videos and you can buy service manuals that will show you how to do virtually everything.
 
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