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Snuggles
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Are you saying that for your first bike you purchased an $18,000 bike?



Not the greatest starting point if that is what you did. But, if you just put down a large chunk of change like that, you may not mind throwing down another 2 or 3 grand and get the Kawi EX250 to learn on for the next few weeks/months. It's much lighter and easier to manage...and a lot cheaper to fix.



Or pony up $3500 to $4500 for a used SV to learn on and transform that into your track bike later.



You can always take the safety course again. No harm in that.

 

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Ride, Ride, Ride. Get friends together and go find those fun twisty roads. Riding with others will allow you to see how they deal with issues on the street that might be different than you would handle them. I have been riding for 18 years and I am not an expert. I learn each time I ride. The best way to get more experience is to put your training in use and pratice those excercises you learned in class(i.e.-pushing on the bar in the opposite direction, etc..). If you have the capability to go to a riding course like super bike school, this will teach you some other items that MSF didnt get into. This might not be 100% usable on the street, but experience is experience and the more you "food for thought" you have the better. Keep the rubber side down.
 

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The Toad
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Never ever ever for one second forget that each and every cage driver in the world is out to get you. Remain as "overly cautious" as you want as long as you want. Get in as many hours on the road as you can on untravelled roads so that you really learn and improve your capabilities. As you gain experience you will begin to feel more comfortable naturally.



Be especially cautious around oversized bikers on Shovelheads.
 

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Did you ride the K1200 in the class? If you haven't ridden it yet, it's a whole different beast than those 250s they provide. I agree with the first poster. You need to spend 1500-3000 bucks on a learner bike. Power aside, there's just way too many bells and whistles on the beemer that will distract you while you get the feel of the streets. Forget "sport" anything for now and just concentrate on the simple stuff like dodging potholes and predicting what cagers might be doing in the next 20 seconds. In six months you still won't really be ready for the K1200, but at least you'll probably be able to ride it without killing yourself. Good luck.
 

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I finished the MSF class about 2 years ago and went ahead and bought a Moto Guzzi 750 Breva. It was a good learning bike and I'm at the piont of trading it in for a bigger bike. I would suggest getting something smaller at the beginning and upgrading afer a year or 2. If your interest is in BMW they have a 650 that might be right for you today, which you can easily trade in later for that K your looking for.
 

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In 1971, I wobbled away on a Honda CB100 I bought from a friend whose dad taught me to ride it in the parking lot of his service station. I rode that bike 1 year around town and never went over 40mph. I learned a lot about riding a motorcycle just bigger than a bicycle at speeds slower than traffic.



Two bikes later I was riding a big 650 Triumph, which was quick around town and allowed me to travel on the highway, although in the right lane away from fast traffic.



You learn a lot riding slower than traffic. There is less to worry about in the right hand lane, because you will be constantly slowing and speeding up as cars merge into and out of your lane. The faster you go the quicker you have to think and things can go all haywire faster than you can respond if you are not experienced.



On multi-lane divided highways you may feel more comfortable going faster than traffic in the left-hand lane. But, that only works in light traffic and because all vehicles are moving at roughly the same speeds and there is no cross-traffic.



Those advocating buying a smaller bike are spot on and I would also recommend using that riding time negotiating your way through all the big vehicles around you merging into and out of your lane.

 

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There's some real solid advice posted here and I've only had three years in the saddle so still consider myself a novice... that said just ride as often as possible and keep well within your comfort level and read, read, read - any knowledge you can glean off the saddle will only help when you're on it.



I've done a few track days and intend to do a lot more this year - if nothing else if sharpens you and gives a great opportunity to learn the bike without the other issues found on the roads - the idea about buying an SV 650 and then converting that to a track bike is a good shout and don't wait two years - any experience you can gain is only to the good and most entry level groups at track schools are controlled enough where speed isn't the focus - you're not the only one out there at this point, so use whatever aids are available.



All the best.



 

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Great that you want more training and realize that you are not comfortable or skilled yet! There are many options out there for more advanced training, but all of them require a certain degree of competence - even the MSF's "Experienced" Ridercourse. Track schools are the best way to learn a bikes - and your own - limits, away from the dangers and uncertainty of the street. The street focused courses provide everyday tools and techniques to improve performance and safety.



I took Lee Parks' "Total Control Advanced Rider Course" where we had everything from a vintage race prepped Ducati to a custom VRod. It taught me a lot, I would whole-heartedly recommend it. However, with the 6 years and 50k of riding that I've done, I was BY FAR the least experienced rider in the class. I would not have learned anything if I weren't already "comfortable" on the bike.



And not to beat a dead horse (but I will anyway), but the K bike really is not the best way to learn. Get something cheap, light, and not overpowered. Not only will you not mind the inevitable drop, but you'll have more fun and learn much quicker.



Good luck!
 

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I agree that besides time riding, reading books like David Hough's series - Proficient Motorcyling, will help you understand what's out to get you as well as how to deal with things when they happen. They are very easy reads and you can order them from walmart.com or find them on ebay, etc.

Also spend plenty of time in an empty parking lot practicing your braking and the stuff you did in the class.
 

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I agree with some of the other posters who recommend some dirt time. There is nothing like learning to powerslide, lowside, crash, get up, and do it again! The risks are so much lower than they are on the street, and you will develop essential skills in traction control, bike handling, etc. I relate it to learning to drive a car on a frozen lake, as I did when growing up in Alaska. There was nothing to hit, and I learned to be comfortable with being totally out of control. If being out of control is a scary feeling you never want to encounter, you won't know what to do when you get there. Now I don't mind driving on slick roads at all, except for all the cell-phone talking boneheads who are trying to kill me. A good cheap dual purpose bike will be light, fun, easy to fix, and street legal to get you to the dirty fun.

Good Luck!
 

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I 'll try not to repeat some of the good advice;but I would add--take the next level MSF course as soon as possible and take that track day after a year,dont wait 2 years(and the idea of buying used SV or EX500 as a beginner bike AND track day tool is a good one). Also get in a LOT of riding,preferably on lightly traveled 50 MPH dual lane. resist the urge to ride in large groups;trying to keep up with groups of superior riding experience is a large source of beginner single bike accidents. Make sure when riding with another that they ride to your ability not theirs. You can learn alot from following a more experienced rider,but not if he's riding outside your comfort level. its sorta like weight lifting.....when you can easily traverse a sweeping off camber at 40,increase your speed to 45. Have fun
 

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Sell the K bike now before you end up crying. Get a small dirt bike or a small supermoto: the older and rattier the better. Ride till you can wheelie over small logs, slide the back end with confidence, hit the front brake hard without falling down, and change direction quickly from left to right and back again. Do this in either a deserted parking lot or off-road riding area. Again, get rid of that beautiful beemer before you scuff it all up. If you must look cool, get a Lotus, Ford GT or the like and go stand next to it. That K bike will eat you for breakfast. Emphasis on FAST.
 

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160+hp is a very bad choice as a first bike. Do the above or fly to a keith code track day and rent one of his bikes for the school. Or do Vegas and Freddie's school. If you can shell out $21k OTD you should be able to spend another couple k for a reputable track school. That will fast track your way to safely enjoying your "Sport" Touring machine and be a blast too. You could load up the bags and take a slow cautious road trip to a track school, you'd definitely get the feel for the bike but little less safe right out of the gate.
 

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A note on the slow lane advice, Cage drivers are agitated by slow moving vehicles, so watch your mirrors like a hawk. Also people love to swerve from the faster lanes to their off ramp of choice just before they miss it. Personally I found the slow lane at slower speeds more dangerous due to traffic ineptitude where as the fast lane at faster speeds is your skills piloting the bike. Ride where you are comfortable but always be aware. They are out to get you.
 

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I really don't know exactly what a new rider has to learn these days. The bikes and traffic are all much faster. I used to ride on the right side of urban and highway roads in case I had a mechanical problem with the bike and I could 'bail' out to the shoulder of the road. Bikes today are more reliable.
 
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