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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings!

I heard about this forum from the gentleman who sold me the bike (red 2008 Versys 650) and he recommended I check it out.

I could tell just from the way this guy's shop looked (most immaculate and organized shop I've ever seen!) that he took good care of the bike. Even his current disassembled project on the work bench was well organized and laid out. That was very comforting to me as I was unable to test drive the bike (poor location with loose and soft gravel roads). The bike looked amazing and clean and only had 3000 miles. Basically it was an older gentleman who had arthritis in his toe joints and couldn't shift comfortably. He was also apparently very picky about who he would sell the bike to...he said he had turned down several buyers because it "didn't feel right." Whatever that means. Either way, his/their loss is my gain! He was very happy to sell the bike to me as "it feels good knowing it's going to a good home."

It fired right up and sounded great. The idle was nice and smooth even though he said he hadn't started the bike in a couple months. I inspected the bike thoroughly but my knowledge on motorcycles is extremely limited. Even so, it's not difficult to spot structural damage without knowledge of what you're looking at. I checked for some extremely basic things like chain tension and making sure there wasn't much side-to-side wiggle room, the sprocket looked really nice and didn't have much/any wear-and-tear. None of the cables looked worn out, the brakes/clutch bars felt nice and smooth. I opened the gas tank and peeked in with a flash light and there didn't appear to be any indication that the gas had been sitting in there forever. I don't know...like I said my knowledge is limited but I checked out what I could and everything looked excellent. There was some minor cosmetic damage (he said from the previous owner) from a low speed crash, but other than that everything looked great!

I'm brand new to riding (I've been on a yamaha 80 and yamaha 250 dirt bike one time each), but I'm a quick learner. I'm still working on getting riding gear and taking the BRC course. It's a small city so the courses are only offered once a month in most cases. In the mean time I'm planning to putter around my neighborhood and keep things nice and slow until I'm a bit more comfortable. I'm a bit nervous because I'm a very safety conscious person and frankly a bike scares me a little bit, but that's because I'm not the type of person who takes risks very often. I know riding is something I will enjoy tremendously once I'm a little more comfortable. The roads here are just garbage so that's honestly the part that makes me the most nervous.

Anyways...sorry for the essay guys and gals. I'm just stupid excited about this. I've wanted a motorcycle for a long time but I could never justify getting one in Alaska.

Cheers,

Dan
 

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:welcome:
 

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:welcome: Become comfortable with the bike, ride sensibly as you gain confidence, and most of all enjoy. :thumb:

Here's a thought to keep in mind. The BRC doesn't do much more than expose you to very fundamental handling skills at parking lot speeds. It has some value but it certainly isn't comprehensive. It's a starting point for skills development through regular and continuing - meaning as long as you continue to ride - practice.

Back in the day I served as a MSF instructor but became disenchanted with course changes and parted ways. I preferred to be an instructor rather than a "rider coach." Safety was more important to me than "graduating" largely unskilled new riders so they could obtain a motorcycle endorsement and rush out and buy a new motorcycle (from one of the manufacturers that fund the MSF).

Sorry if it sounds like a sermon. Enjoy, ride safely and watch out for the wildlife. The Versys is a very good machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Beany!

Fair enough, Arion. I've heard opinions about the MSF and BRC courses that vary pretty wildly. Everything from "this was stupid but at least I didn't have to take the DMV tests," to "meh," to "I've been riding for 15 years and I still got something out of the course." Haha. I tend to over-research most subjects before I actually dive in, but that wasn't the case this time around. An opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance!

Thanks so much for the input and welcomes everyone. I think I'll fit in here just fine :)

Cheers,

Dan
 

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Thanks Beany!

Fair enough, Arion. I've heard opinions about the MSF and BRC courses that vary pretty wildly. Everything from "this was stupid but at least I didn't have to take the DMV tests," to "meh," to "I've been riding for 15 years and I still got something out of the course." Haha. I tend to over-research most subjects before I actually dive in, but that wasn't the case this time around. An opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance!

Thanks so much for the input and welcomes everyone. I think I'll fit in here just fine :)

Cheers,

Dan
Dan,

Please understand that I do believe the course is still good and does offer useful information. It's also obviously good, from your comments and my experience, for those "old riders" who didn't have the benefit of some sort of formal training. The trick is to recall what has been learned and practice at regular intervals -like when the snow melts in the spring.

I will freely admit that, although I've been riding since 1963, I still need to practice and refresh my somewhat aged memory. It helps me to read safe riding articles by my favorite authors as well. In fact the older I become, the more skill-refreshing is meaningful to my continued safe riding. I like being alive as much as I like riding. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Too true. My thought was something along the lines of "okay, I love the idea of owning a motorcycle but it scares me at the same time...I'll attempt to learn as much as humanly possible (or until my patience runs out and I can't help but hop on the bike), so I don't get myself hurt or worse."

There have already been three motorcycle fatalities in Alaska in the last three months. The roads here are rough, people kind of drive like @ssholes, and I'm inexperienced. I'll be puttering around my neighborhood and taking things slow. Who knows, I'm a quick learner so I may not necessarily "need" the course. Either way I'll likely end up taking it because I tend to be over cautious when it comes to taking calculated risks.
 

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:welcome: and get a riding buddy if you can and that will give you some confidence . be safe, take it easy and enjoy your ride.

The bike goes where you see...keep your focus on the road and where you want to go.

:goodluck:
 

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Dan,
Welcome from a former Squarebanks (7years 91-98) resident (actually North Pole) while I was stationed at Eielson. I'm down in Palmer now since 1998 with my 2011 ADVersys. A good friend of mine lives up that way who is one of the MSF instructors. It is a worthwhile thing to do, for sure if you are a new rider. If you ever make it down to the Valley look me up. Enjoy your new ride.
 

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Welcome aboard, and - IF someone suggests you ride the "Haul Road" - might be a good idea to 'just-say-no'...!

I've ridden to Alaska on motorcycles four times (Bandit 1200S once, KLR650 twice, Versys650 twice...) - FIVE, if you count my ride in June that had to be aborted in Dawson, rather than riding thru Chicken..., and have loved every minute and mile of the times I've been there!

:cool:
 

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I'm brand new to riding (I've been on a yamaha 80 and yamaha 250 dirt bike one time each), but I'm a quick learner. I'm still working on getting riding gear and taking the BRC course. It's a small city so the courses are only offered once a month in most cases. In the mean time I'm planning to putter around my neighborhood and keep things nice and slow until I'm a bit more comfortable. I'm a bit nervous because I'm a very safety conscious person and frankly a bike scares me a little bit.........
Welcome !

Glad to hear you're taking a rider safety course. I just did mine last weekend and absolutely loved it.

Forget the dirt bike stuff. Very little of it transfers to road riding, at least for me. They are independent skills, other than at the most basic level.

I have ridden in 25 years until recently. That said, I'm running a little scared myself. A little fear can be a healthy thing.

Spend every penny you can afford on the best riding gear possible. Wear it all the time, even if your just going around the block.
 

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...Forget the dirt bike stuff. Very little of it transfers to road riding, at least for me. They are independent skills, other than at the most basic level....
I have to disagree. Riding dirt will get you used to being on a bike when it gets "loose", and thus, prepare you for when/ IF it happens on the street.

IMHO - dirt is the BEST way to learn to ride!

:thumb:
 
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