Maiden voyage is now complete for me and my Versys! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Maiden voyage is now complete for me and my Versys!

Today I completed the 3 day MSF safety course (which was SO MUCH FUN) and got my license (temporary paper...but legal). It was a sweltering couple of days this weekend in northern virginia and I think I lost 10 pounds from sweating between the 2 days...BUT, as soon as they handed out the DMV certificates and said it was a legal license for 30 days, I knew exactly what I was going to do as soon as I got home. I was tired, dehydrated, a little sore, and all my clothes were completely soaked, yuck. That being said, the decision was already made.

Got home, changed clothes, drank a LOT of water and got ready. I noticed when I brought the bike back from the dealership a week ago there wasn't a lot of gas, which is fine because it gave me my first destination.

Got the bike up and running, found my friction zone...and WOW! Just a little bit different than the 250cc bikes at the course. I mean WOW, I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea what kind of treat I was in for. For all you veterans, keep in mind this was also my maiden voyage as a rider, not just with the versys. Oh my god, what a machine!

So I got to the station, filled up....and came right back home. Since I put ALL my gear on this time, it took about 3 minutes on this 95 degree day with almost 100% humidity to realize not even my excitement is going to win this battle. Oh yeah, plus the fact that I need to learn how to ride. I doubt I'm the only rookie who has done this. You know...just finishing a course in a tremendously large vacant parking lot where I had to battle tiny rubber cones as obstacles on a slower bike with instructors around me at all times, and thinking..uh huh...oh yeah, I'm totally ready for Sunday traffic in the middle of a city. I think I left my turn signal on 4 of the 6 times I used it, stalled out twice...annnnd almost ran into someone on my way out of the gas station.

So all in all, the 3-4 mile maiden voyage was SO AWESOME!!! I had so much fun even with the reality check of realizing I need to stick with the original vacant high school parking lot plan. There's one right up the street from me and it's summer time. I drove by it today and it's going to be a great place to practice over the upcoming weeks...starting tomorrow morning, when it's cooler and people are sleeping in
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 04:56 PM
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We have a State Park nearby that gets almost no traffic but has miles of winding roads. That's where my wife practiced for several hours after getting MSF certified. Might look into something like that.

Congrats!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 05:01 PM
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Congrats on your bike and your license!

Prepare yourself (mentally and physically), plan your trips and enjoy the ride!!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 07:11 PM
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Congrats on your license and I'm glad everything went well. Hot out? My friend I rode all the way out to Sperryville today and back through Marshall, Middleburg and The Plains, all in all about 5 1/2 hours, wasn't so bad .

Mike
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for the story.. Brings back very happy memories of my first time!

I mean my first time.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 08:40 PM
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Congratulations but remember, the MSF course prepares you to get on and start riding. But you are hardly ready to really be riding in traffic. I'd suggest you keep practicing around town where you know there is little traffic, and keep practicing tight turns and swerving and figure 8s in a parking lot.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 09:10 PM
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Have fun! Practice at the school you mentioned. I'm going through the Rider's Edge class Jul 13,14,16,17 after 25 years of not riding and plan on hitting the back lot of a shopping center for lots of slow speed stuff. My bike's still at the dealer, for safety's sake!

Phil in Eldersburg, MD, USA (Baltimore Area)
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 09:59 PM
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Enjoy the process and have fun. You are doing it the right way for an adult.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-03-2011, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njd View Post
Congratulations but remember, the MSF course prepares you to get on and start riding. But you are hardly ready to really be riding in traffic. I'd suggest you keep practicing around town where you know there is little traffic, and keep practicing tight turns and swerving and figure 8s in a parking lot.
+1


Thanks for posting this. GREAT report! Brings back fond memories....

Motorcycles can change and enhance your life forever, but the truth is that motorcycling has a STEEP learning curve; too steep for some. Sounds like you are doing things right. Please follow the sage advice quoted above (especially the figure 8's--stretch 'em out so you are shifting through gears and braking during loops). A few words of wisdom if I may...
  • ride like you are invisible--you are the invisible man (person) while riding a motorcycle on the street. Everybody who can turn left in front of you, will turn left in front of you, everybody who can pull out in front of you, will pull out in front of you, ALWAYS, EVERY TIME. Learn/practice how to countersteer so that it becomes intuitive (I imagine they probably brought it up in your MSF course, but if you are still not clear read Keith Code's books. Get comfortable using the front brake to its fullest potential--it's 70% + of your total stopping power.

Have fun, be safe, enjoy the ride! You've got a great bike!

Ride to live, live to ride.
2009 Kawasaki Versys
2010 Yamaha YZ 250F
2008 Honda CRF 450
2006 Honda CR 250R
I've owned a Maico.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 04:13 AM
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Glad you had a heck of time riding.

Like said, you need to know and learn the 'safe zone', areas where you are safe while in traffic, moving or not moving, changing lanes, making turns, etc. Pay a lot more attention to your surroundings (particularly the rear) than while you are in a car driving. Even the road surface and condition can affect your safety. Cars will make sudden turns and change lanes so watch the driver's body language if you can.

Oh...I found changing the brake hose to stainless steel ones helps in many of this close call situation, and it is my recommendation that the first mod be the brake hoses.

Enjoy the ride, geared up and ride safe.

Present Ride: Yamaha Super Tenere 2012
Previous Ride:
2011 to 2015 2011 Versys Spark BlackKawasaki Ninja 2010 to 2011 250R 2008 Plasma Blue
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 04:21 AM
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congrats and take it easy. got some good advice here and find a vacant lot to do your stuff and understand the bike.

ride safe and ATGATT.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions and words of wisdom everyone. I promise to do my best effort to let the bike down before I let you down.

I like that idea of "riding invisible" since that's pretty much a reality anyway. You guys are great. I'll keep you posted while working on the steep learning curve, which I know will be an ongoing and constant process. BUT THAT'S A LOT OF THE FUN!! Finding something I've always wanted to do and working at it to get better, then seeing the results.

Yup, that's enough talky talky, I'm gonna get geared up and head back to high school!

HAPPY 4TH EVERYONE!!!

Christian
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-04-2011, 09:33 AM
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congrats on getting lisenced and out on the road, i did something very similar to you when i got my lisence. i stalled a couple times at stop lights and actually dropped it too at <1mph because i slipped on some sand doing a uturn and put my foot down and then my foot slipped. ride safe and ATGATT!

Last edited by fineout; 07-04-2011 at 09:39 AM.
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