Bad driver = Me. Okay, so before I go out again I will be spending a number of days/weeks practicing in an empty parking lot! I know the basics on how to ride, but am nowhere close to good. I want to be smoother at my stops, lane positioning (if riding in a group), turns, etc. I am getting much better at not putting my foot down in tight/slow speed turns (old dirt riding days). Though I will be REALLY practicing sudden braking and swerving manuevers!!!
So, I know that I am a newb, I'm talking it pretty slow, riding in the right lane, giving some good car length to the vehicle in front of me (approximately 4-6 car lengths), etc. Well, we were traveling down the road approximately 45MPH on a 4 lane (two one way, two the other way, with a grass median). We come up to a traffic light and it is green. It is so green and I am so close, that even IF it turns yellow I will be far past it before it has an inkling of turning red. Well, it turns yellow, the car in front of me MAYBE had 20 feet before being in the intersection (mind you we are going 45) and slams the brakes to stop for the light. Well, newbie here immediately pulls in the clutch and starts for the brakes though then I kinda/not really panic. I worry about how I had practiced braking suddenly at about 15-20 MPH but not this fast. I then recall something I learned about how it is better to swerve to avoid an object then slam your brakes if you are over 15 MPH. So I decide to swerve...here is where it gets a little worse...I am riding in the left part of the right lane. I swerve, but don't have enough time to swerve to the right of the car, so I swerve to the left. I don't go into the left lane but actually swerve enough to avoid the car, and ride the white spacial divider line between the lanes. Thank goodness there wasn't a car in the left lane! Okay, past that debacle, time to relax and reflect.
1) I should only ride within my capabilities, which are minimal, and need to get a lot more practice.
2) I should expect the unexpected, and then expect even more crazy things to happen. Also, have a back up plan, then a back up for the back up plan.
3) I should ride the right part of the right lane in case such scenario comes up again. Likewise, left side of the left lane.
4) More space between me and others. I have to remember that I'm not driving a car and that this isn't D.C. rush hour traffic, relax, and take it easy, don't try to go through a light even if it is green, after all it might turn yellow. (I've picked up a lot of bad habits in my driving over the years, need to remedy them.)
Like I said, Bad Driver = Me...but I'm going to fix this. There are two upsides to this though. In reality, if one of you experienced riders encountered this, it would have been a piece of cake to handle, plenty of space to stop, and most likely just another day of riding. I am new and need a lot ot practice/experience. The second good part, is that while I thought about it all afterwards, while it was going on, it was so quick that I don't actually recall "thinking" about it. My reflexes just kinda kicked in and went with it.
Alright, on to a good note. Complimented on my bike by various people and asked what it was (I debadged it). I told a Harley guy it was a Kawasaki. To which he replied, "Yeah...but what is it!?"
He did say that he liked it and that it looked like a fun toy. Bike rode like a dream! Plenty of power to me, smooth, good all around, loving it! After these few hundred miles I started taking turns better also. Not fast, but I have a habit of looking downward on the road instead of looking through the curve. Started looking through the curve more and it was much better.
So this part I'm a little nervous about...okay, so I consider this to be my second bike but my first REAL bike. I believe that your first bike is always the "dream bike" of better days and the one that got you started. Mine was a 1981 Suzuki 250 Enduro, God rest her soul. So I consider this to be my first real bike because it is the first bike that I have ever researched and chose on my own. It is also the first bike that I will ever perform any maintenance on. I hope to never have to take it to the dealer or a professional as much as possible. With that being said, I am a COMPLETE NEWB!!! I just learned how to operate a torque wrench a week ago and what a hex bit was about a month ago. Yeah, pretty bad...though we haven't even started with maintenance.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid, just ignorant. So, I hope, with the help of manuals and y'all's support I will be able to perform all modifications/maintenance on this bike. In other words, if I have a question, would you help answer/explain it and use small words/steps so that I can understand?
I have changed the oil on it, taken off the cowls (wanted to get intimate with her) and checked fluids/such. I know I don't have to do any of it yet, but eventually I will change tires, check valves, sparkplugs, etc. I did see on here the oil change, tire changing, and the sparkplug how to, but didn't see one for the valves or for balancing tires. Did I not research it enough?
Another question I have is about chain slack. When I got the bike from the dealer the chain looked quite tight. Now, I look at it and it seems quite loose. I read in the book about how you should have 1 to 1.4 inches of slack and how to measure it. It also looked to me that you have to remove and/or loosen the back wheel to adjust the chain slack. It says to get a new cotter pin, at the hardware store or OEM? Another thing I noticed was the notches on the swingarm (yeah, something for a newb like me). Problem, one one side of the tire/swingarm it is right on a line, on the other side it is slightly off. Not a whole lot, but enough to easily see by looking at it. So, is it okay for it to be slightly off? Did the dealer set it up wrong? Also...as I'm sure you might not like hearing this...does anyone have a picture showing chain slack and measurements. Example: How it looks low, measuring, how it looks high, etc. (I know, I know, overkill, but piece of mind is wonderful).
So if you are still reading this congratulations! It was quite a hefty post and I appreciate it! I guess in the long run, I just really had a great time today and wanted to share it with all of you. The bike is great, y'all were absolutely right, I am extremely happy with it! Also, I sure hope I don't annoy, offend, or upset anyone with my posts. If so, please bare with me and for the most part I don't do well with hints, so just come straight out with it if you are ever dealing/explaining stuff to me. Thanks and have a great day/night.
P.S. Man this post is long! Maybe I need to write a book.