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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So since getting the bike last month, I've think I've really gotten to know more about this motorcycle and am becoming more fond of it. The weather here in Missouri has been mild, but because of my work schedule - and the fact that since I'm new to riding I've been adamant about riding when I'm feeling 100% and able to focus on learning and not just taking joy rides (I'll elaborate on this in a bit) - I've only been able to rack up a few miles just riding around my neighborhood.

The bike is pretty much as advertised: light, easy to handle, perfect starter bike... etc. Having been one of the only individuals to have dumped his bike while taking the MSF courses (laid down the bike twice during slow speed maneuvers), I've been leery since this is MY bike and not a lender. I was fortunate NOT to drop her the first day I got her... but on the second day, I got a little overconfident and stalled her while making a turn. I just wasn't fast enough to catch her (and not experienced enough to remember to modulate the clutch while giving a little throttle), but i was able to get her down gently. The only damage I saw was slight scuff marks to the rear break pedal, muffler, and right mirror. I attribute my 'oopsie' to over-confidence and in-attentiveness. While I know "these things happen", I couldn't help but feel that had I been more focused on how I was riding, I could've avoided it. I almost had a second "oopsie" during the same day when I was making a turn and got fixated on the curb. I managed not to hit it, but did scare the crap out of myself. After some introspection, I figured I was pushing myself; I was becoming too impatient to learn the right way of riding, and just happy to finally be on a bike and that was leading to mistakes. Maybe not big ones, but enough that I felt that I needed to slow down a little bit.

There was a post here a little while back where there was this guy who bought a CBR and had a fall, but refused to tell his wife. When he did tell her, they decided that bike riding probably wasn't something he should risk further and they ended up selling the bike. I remember dropping the bike the first time during my MSF class and having the same thoughts. I just dont want to put myself into that train of thought, if I can avoid it.

Confidence is what I felt I needed. First thing I did was to read and watch videos on common mistakes new riders encounter. The next few times I rode, I kept every tip in mind. I re-practiced my basics, kept my shifts and throttle management smooth, and remembered to take breaks to review and re-focus. I was doing much better, except for a close call when I almost lost my footing due to loose dirt while coming to a stop (it's got to be in the top 5 banes of motorcycle riding).

Well, today I was able to pick up my lowered seat that my amazing girlfriend bought for me as an early bday present. Installing it was fairly simple, but I did notice that the pillion fits snug with it on. Whereas I used to just push the pillion back in place after accessing the storage compartment, I now have to squeeze it into place before it latches. The psuedo-carbon fiber-like pattern doesn't match the pillion, but doesn't seem too out of place, since it's similar to the pattern on the side of the frame. I'm strongly considering getting the seat cowl, just so the aesthetics are a little better (in my mind, at least). Honda claims the seat lowers the rider 1.5 inches (no idea in mm), and when I got on it, I was disappointed. Still couldn't quite flat foot with both feet. Yes, I was lower on the bike, but because of the thickness of the base of the seat (and bike frame near the gas tank), I could still only get the balls of my feet down with mere centimeters to spare. Regardless, and despite the 30 deg weather, I decided to go for a ride and was pleasantly shocked.

Even though I wasn't able to flat-foot the bike like I wanted, my center of gravity on the bike seemed lower and I felt like I had more control over the bike. I felt like I was sitting IN the bike instead of ON it. Slow speed maneuvers were easier, I didn't get wobbly feeling I usually got coming to a stop, and for the first time, I was able to comfortably do one legged stops with my right foot resting on the rear brake. I thought at first it was placebo, so I took a few more laps around my neighborhood. Usually, I feel tense while I'm riding - probably because most of my life I've ridden a pedal bike, so when speeds start pushing around 20-25mph, my brain starts screaming "Too fast!" With my new found confidence, I looked at my speedo and found myself almost going 40! Needless to say, I reigned in my speed, but never once did I feel the tenseness I once did.

The more relaxed I felt, the better I felt I rode and I only stopped because I needed to get to work. Today was the first time I can admit to really having fun on the bike, without really scrutinizing my mistakes - mostly because I don't think I made any today. Is the lowering seat worth it? If you are within less than 1/8th of an inch of getting your heels down, then no. I'm less than an inch of getting my heels down, and still can't with the lowered seat. But, in my case, at least, the new found confidence I found due to the change in the handling is well worth the $150 price of admission.

Now about that seat cowl...
 

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Looks like you're breaking the ice quite nicely, therefore you won't be so new for much longer.

Keep on learning, slowly but surely.
 

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Nice write up mate, It's interesting looking at the whole thing thru the eyes of a first time rider. It must be reasonably daunting learning on a 300cc bike.
Myself I learnt on a 125cc trail bike on soft farm paddocks so i could drop it without damaging the bike or myself much at all. Then I progressed to a 200cc bike etc etc.

Keep at it, in a years time it will be second nature to you and you'll maybe look back and wonder what the fuss was about. :)
 

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Great to hear you are getting more and more comfortable and confident on the bike! You definitely have the right approach unlike so many riders so keep doing what you're doing! Interesting notes on the lowered seat as well. Seen a few threads discussing the seat with lots of opinions so it's nice to hear some feedback from a user.
 

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My wife loves her lowered seat as well, she is also vertically challenged. We additionally got her the Soupy's lowering links/kickstand kit and she can now push the bike around while sitting on it which is perfect. Good luck with the practice.
 

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So since getting the bike last month, I've think I've really gotten to know more about this motorcycle and am becoming more fond of it. The weather here in Missouri has been mild, but because of my work schedule - and the fact that since I'm new to riding I've been adamant about riding when I'm feeling 100% and able to focus on learning and not just taking joy rides (I'll elaborate on this in a bit) - I've only been able to rack up a few miles just riding around my neighborhood.

The bike is pretty much as advertised: light, easy to handle, perfect starter bike... etc. Having been one of the only individuals to have dumped his bike while taking the MSF courses (laid down the bike twice during slow speed maneuvers), I've been leery since this is MY bike and not a lender. I was fortunate NOT to drop her the first day I got her... but on the second day, I got a little overconfident and stalled her while making a turn. I just wasn't fast enough to catch her (and not experienced enough to remember to modulate the clutch while giving a little throttle), but i was able to get her down gently. The only damage I saw was slight scuff marks to the rear break pedal, muffler, and right mirror. I attribute my 'oopsie' to over-confidence and in-attentiveness. While I know "these things happen", I couldn't help but feel that had I been more focused on how I was riding, I could've avoided it. I almost had a second "oopsie" during the same day when I was making a turn and got fixated on the curb. I managed not to hit it, but did scare the crap out of myself. After some introspection, I figured I was pushing myself; I was becoming too impatient to learn the right way of riding, and just happy to finally be on a bike and that was leading to mistakes. Maybe not big ones, but enough that I felt that I needed to slow down a little bit.

There was a post here a little while back where there was this guy who bought a CBR and had a fall, but refused to tell his wife. When he did tell her, they decided that bike riding probably wasn't something he should risk further and they ended up selling the bike. I remember dropping the bike the first time during my MSF class and having the same thoughts. I just dont want to put myself into that train of thought, if I can avoid it.

Confidence is what I felt I needed. First thing I did was to read and watch videos on common mistakes new riders encounter. The next few times I rode, I kept every tip in mind. I re-practiced my basics, kept my shifts and throttle management smooth, and remembered to take breaks to review and re-focus. I was doing much better, except for a close call when I almost lost my footing due to loose dirt while coming to a stop (it's got to be in the top 5 banes of motorcycle riding).

Well, today I was able to pick up my lowered seat that my amazing girlfriend bought for me as an early bday present. Installing it was fairly simple, but I did notice that the pillion fits snug with it on. Whereas I used to just push the pillion back in place after accessing the storage compartment, I now have to squeeze it into place before it latches. The psuedo-carbon fiber-like pattern doesn't match the pillion, but doesn't seem too out of place, since it's similar to the pattern on the side of the frame. I'm strongly considering getting the seat cowl, just so the aesthetics are a little better (in my mind, at least). Honda claims the seat lowers the rider 1.5 inches (no idea in mm), and when I got on it, I was disappointed. Still couldn't quite flat foot with both feet. Yes, I was lower on the bike, but because of the thickness of the base of the seat (and bike frame near the gas tank), I could still only get the balls of my feet down with mere centimeters to spare. Regardless, and despite the 30 deg weather, I decided to go for a ride and was pleasantly shocked.

Even though I wasn't able to flat-foot the bike like I wanted, my center of gravity on the bike seemed lower and I felt like I had more control over the bike. I felt like I was sitting IN the bike instead of ON it. Slow speed maneuvers were easier, I didn't get wobbly feeling I usually got coming to a stop, and for the first time, I was able to comfortably do one legged stops with my right foot resting on the rear brake. I thought at first it was placebo, so I took a few more laps around my neighborhood. Usually, I feel tense while I'm riding - probably because most of my life I've ridden a pedal bike, so when speeds start pushing around 20-25mph, my brain starts screaming "Too fast!" With my new found confidence, I looked at my speedo and found myself almost going 40! Needless to say, I reigned in my speed, but never once did I feel the tenseness I once did.

The more relaxed I felt, the better I felt I rode and I only stopped because I needed to get to work. Today was the first time I can admit to really having fun on the bike, without really scrutinizing my mistakes - mostly because I don't think I made any today. Is the lowering seat worth it? If you are within less than 1/8th of an inch of getting your heels down, then no. I'm less than an inch of getting my heels down, and still can't with the lowered seat. But, in my case, at least, the new found confidence I found due to the change in the handling is well worth the $150 price of admission.

Now about that seat cowl...
Nice thread Razote, it may be worth checking out if you can get a bike driving school to give you some lessons on the road. It will give you more confidence and alleviate any nasty habits etc.
Safe riding and enjoy your bike.
 

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What an absolute terrific write up. I bought my 1st motorcycle waaaaay back in 1978. I had never taken any kind of course...only read books on how to ride and I had never ridden a motorcycle...period. My 1st motorcycle?? A 1977 Honda CB 750 K (about 525 LBS). My friend managed to teach me to ride and thankfully I never did drop it..cause if I did good luck trying to pick it up.

Props to you for taking a proper course and starting out on something small(ish). Keep going..you have the correct attitude and are doing fine. Soon you will have all the confidence in the World and will be having more fun riding.
 

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I think you have a perfect mindset for motorcycling. I still consider myself a beginner also, and find the whole process consistently learning. Keep up the great work, bud.
 
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