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Some new rider questions

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by pebble, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Ok, so I got my new gs500f a fwe weeks ago, and I have managed to actually get out and do some riding between rain storms here in north Melbourne.

    But I have a questions which are kind of niggling me.
    I have tried to find some answers, so its not just pure laziness here :)

    OK, first up, im paranoid about getting a puncture!
    It will probably happen at some stage, so any advice on what to do?
    I have read a few things about having a puncture repair kit handy, and then I have read about some sort of stuff you fill the tyre up with. Should I just get some sort of roadside assist? After all, i suppose that would help if there was some other issue.

    What do you do if you crash?
    Following on from the previous point, do you call roadside assist and they pick you up? Im sure its all obvious, but Id rather just know before i have to learn out the hard way...!

    Tools on the bike
    Following on from fixing a puncture, I know there are tools on the bike (i havent looked at them yet, so I have no idea what they are) but do people have a carry bag they have a regular bundle of stuff in it?
    Is there a kit list I need to get my hands?

    Cleaning the bike
    OK, so everytime I ride, its dark and its raining so far. I have yet to actually get out and enjoy a 'nice' ride!
    So the bike is covered in dirty water splatters. I have read that you should clean your bike regularly. Personally, I have never cleaned any cars i have ever owned and Ive been driving for 15 years! I have seen some threads here about cleaning, but do people recommend you clean it after every ride, or is it just an asthetic thing? personally, I couldnt care less if the bike is dirty, but if the reason is safety and maintenance, then thats different.

    Servicing the bike
    I know as much about being a mechanic as I do about being a tree.
    Do i need to get more tools. Im pretty sure I can read up on the various easy stuff to do at home, but honestly, is ot actaully really easy, or is it only easy if you have a degree in engineering?

    music and phone
    Does anyone have any suggestions with regards to use of a phone or getting music whle you ride? I will probably be looking at some long ride commuting, up to 10 hours occassionally, and obviously, I have no interest in being silent for 10 hours on a freeway between melbourne and Sydney.
    are there any suggestions?

    which leads to

    Wind noise.
    Man! Its noisy! i never actually reallised how bloody noisy it is. I cant even hear the bike once I hit over 80km, but when I get to 100km, the wind noise is awful. At 110km on the Hume freeway, its alsmost unbearable. I am going to get some swimming ear plugs to wear, but is this normal? I have a HJC IS-16 helmet.

    Foggy visor.
    I find the visor fogs up real easy. Becuase a lot of my riding has beena t night and its the middle of winter, its obviously cold, but sometimes I find the visor gets covered in fog. When it clears, then I am left with a film of water or condensation. Is this normal and has anyone any ideas to offer to either get rid of or deal with it?

    OK, thats enough to start with, I will come back as and When i think about it.

    Im hoping to start my 30minute commute (for the moment) to Craigieburn every day soon, but would really like to get some of these cleared up before I start using the bike to actually get to work and back!


  2. Oh, and my headlight really doesnt feel right. I only see about 10 yeards in front of the bike on normal beam. And it isnt very bright either.

    Is this normal? Can I change it for a brighter lamp?
  3. I'm only a noob like yourself but I'll have a go at phone and music. In NSW on Ls and Ps the phone is illegal and I reckon music should be too. If I want music I'll go in the cage. I need to concentrate really hard, as I've heard bikes can be dangerous. To me music needs to be listened to, not just background, to be pproperly enjoyed. Same with riding: no point if I'm not enjoying the experience, including the windnoise haha.

    Maybe my attitude might change when I get a lot more skillful.
  4. Oh, can I alsoo have a go at headlight?

    You might like to experiment with the angle your headlight is heading. I understand it is easy to adjust. Now we are getting into tools and servicing so I better finish up before I embarrass myself ;)
  5. Punctures - You can pick up a basic puncture repair kit at most bike shops. They don't have to be over expensive although some are. The best type seem to be the gooey twisty rope ones (they sort of look like twisty licquorice straps or maybe jerky sticks - sounds odd but if you go to a bike shop and ask you will know what I mean the minute you see it), but you probably need to be shown how to use it.

    You can also get the ones that are like a house key finishing in a plastic screw that you screw in and then break off (cargol???). I bought one because it is so compact, but have never personally used it personally but gave it to a friend who had a puncture. It got him home but was leaking all the way. Also saw a review on these which said they didn't work so well. Someone said they work better if you smear them with glue first.

    What do you do if you crash - Just like a car, it depends how badly. If you make the bike unrideable you walk home. There are commercial organisations who will pick the bike up for you and there are road side assist schemes. I am not in any. If you have a car with a tow bar or access to borrow one, there are trailer hire places which have bike trailers. I guess the obvious advice is don't crash.

    If your bike is new it will have a tool kit but it will be basic. On one of my bikes I carry a pretty decent kit the other has no rook and I only carry a puncture repair kit. The bottom line is that if you aren't mechanically inclined you probably won't be able to do much. So how mechanically inclined are you?

    Cleaning. There are people out there whose bikes would put a new bike to shame, and don't ride in the wet and shampoo the bike after every jaunt to the coffee shop. Personally I don't. However the bike parts are more exposed than car parts and keeping it moderately clean can assist in seeing if parts are worn, broken or coming loose. If you have a new bike I would try to look after it and keep it reasonably clean, but my life is too short to clean it once a week let alone after every ride.

    Servicing. Bikes need a bit more regular maintenance than cars e.g. chain lubing and maintenance and bikes engines are usually higher performance engines than most cars so require more regular oil changes. Minor servicing is not hard to do and if someone shows you how you can save a bit by doing it yourself. Plus you know it has been done properly or alternatively at least you didn't pay some other incompetent to stuff it up for you. Chances are you can do the minor servicing with the tool kit that came with the bike or not too much extra.

    Music and windnoise.

    Lets deal with wind noise first. IMHO if you don't wear earplugs you are not ATTGATT. Riding a bike will make you deaf.If you are 80 then you probably haven't got long to live and are probably nearly deaf already so who cares. If you are young you need to ride with ear plugs. All the time. No exceptions. Always. If you have a helmet on and are not wearing pugs you are doing it wrong. Did I mention no exceptions.

    I listen to it on long rides but with proper plugs designed to convey music whil reducing wind noise. (There are a few brands but for example google earmold - not cheap but they work). However I don't think they cut out as much noise as your standard or garden or protection. I am not convinced that self cancelling ear buds give the right type of protection and I am pretty sure that normal ear buds don't.

    Foggy visor Most bike shops have a range of solutions ranging from products to spray/wipe on the visor to stop it fogging up or films to stick on it which help insulate it like double glazing. Ive tried cat crap (brand name not something the cat left behind) seemed to work but i would ask your bike shop.

    Finally most of these topics have been discussed before so try some alternative search words and you'll probably get a lot more expert advice.

    Headlight: Try aiming the light higher as Brmmm suggests. If that doesn't work talk to your dealer about whether the headlight can take an alternative higher wattage globe. Local auto shops may have globes which put out more light for the same wattage. If all else fails and it is an issue, add some auxilliary lights.
  6. Many thanks for that. Some of this stuff is obvious if you know it, but if you dont, then.... :)
  7. About the tools, the stuff in the GS500 kit is pretty good (well shit quality, but enough tool to do most things). There's enough there to get you fixed it is something you can fix on the side of the road. I've had my speedo die while riding (loose bolt on back of speedo), a mirror come loose at the base (another loose bolt, started calling it a BSA), adjusted the clutch at the case (fixing the "service" at a dealer) and a pinched fuel line. All fixed on the side of the road with the tools under the seat.

    Fog, good luck. I use cat crap, works pretty well. I also know people who say a bit of dish detergent. One thing I was taught by my father, you'll always fight it.

    Servicing, not much to say on this one. The bike manual and GSTwins wiki are a good read. Oh and don't over tighten the nuts for the oil filter. Those studs are special order, act as a fuse and are a prick to remove.
  8. Can't agree more with GreyBM on the earplugs. At 100km/hr windnoise is over 100db, which will cause permanent hearing loss after 2 hours. All you need to do is drop the noise down to 80db and you're good for 8 hours. elcheapo "throw away" earplugs (<$5 a pair) will drop noise by 20db. Good earplugs ($5 - $80) only drop them by 30db. Expensive earplugs (up to several hundred $) drop noise by 33-35db (some claim up to 40db).

    I have found that in-ear / ear-canal phones block out a significant amount of noise (the manfacturer claim 25db) whilst letting me listen to music still. Not bad for $80.

    Note: earbuds do nothing.
  9. hey pebble..I have a GS500F too and the stock headlight is crap. you can adjust it out by turning the little knob inside the fairing....there are 2 knobs near where the headlight globe actually goes into the fairing. As you are sitting on the bike I think it is the right hand one that will adjust it vertically by turning it clockwise. Have a look in the manual (if yuou have one) it will show you how to do it. Even after you adjust it out though the light is still garbage. I replaced mine with a 'philips x-treme power H4 extreme +80% xenon bulb' which I got from www.powerbulbs.com I think it was about $30 delivered and it was money well spent, its a massive improvement
    +1 to earplugs. I agree with you GreyBM, in my opinion its part of ATGATT.
    I use 'cat crap' on my visor too, seems to work well but I need to apply it every second day or so. keep your visor clean though, a clean visor wont fog up as quickly.
    if you dont have a manual PM me and I will copy mine for you. makes life a little easier.
  10. I"m a n00b as well, but one recommendation I can give you with confidence is go to Everything2Wheels (www.everything2wheels.com.au) for your servicing needs. Pete is a great guy who actually communicates to you what is wrong with your bike (in my case my newly bought 2ndhand postie needed a new carbie) and he does a great service as well. He's in North Fitzroy. I'm sure if you asked him he'd give you tips on what you need to keep your bike in tip top shape.

    Music - just listen to the songs in your brain, that's my walkman!
  11. RACV roadside assist or puncture kit for punctures. Keeping your tyres in good nick at the right pressure helps.
    They can't pick you up after a crash but will help find a tow truck.
    Apart from adding duct tape and cable ties to the tool kit I haven't bothered with extra tools on the bike. Roadside assist again if necessary.
    Hope you've got chain lube and use it.
    Washing is pretty easy. Get a brush with long SOFT bristles and a long handle, a bucket of warm water and some car wash. The cleaning mitts are good too. Need something to rinse it with as well. Under water restrictions a watering can might do. Degreaser is useful.
    If you are mechanically inept (like me) use a mechanic. Especially when the bike is under warranty. People here can recommend good ones.
    Hope that helps.
    PS Brett at mad biker runs maintenance courses
  12. +1 (y)

    Pebble, I picked some disposable earplugs up from one of those workwear safety places out near AMX in Keilor, Class 5 SLC80 27DB rating for noise levels up to around 110db ... cost around $1.90 ... makes a world of difference.

    Can also get earplugs from chemists, or stepping up a bit specially moulded ones to suit you.

    Maybe see you at Sat. morning learners practice sessions sometime ...


    Attached Files:

  13. RACV will only assist you if you break down, not if you crash.
    if you're a girl on a bike and you break down, the first guy on a bike that comes past is going to help you.
    i think you need to sit down and read the bikes owners manual pebble, because you have'nt have you... there should be an 'inspection before riding' table in there somewhere... that's the stuff you need to be vigilant with.
    if you're in Melbourne, theres a few workshops around that run training/tuition nights, and help you with hands on basic maintenance.
    theres also a pinlock visor insert available for the IS-16 to stop fogging...i think your standard visor allready has the posts for it.... should be a stamp on the visor HJ-09? maybe...this is what you're looking for> http://www.hjc-helmets.com/product/PINLOCK-INSERTS.html, but i don't know anything about that websites credibility, plenty of on-line stores will stock, or order one in from local bike shop so they can supply you with the wrong part# as per usual after waiting six months for it to come in.

    Attached Files:

  14. adding one other thing re: windnoise.

    the helmet you're using is pretty basic. a shark, shoei or agv (not all of them, but most) assist with keeping down windnoise due to different shapes. check it out at bike store.
  15. Cleaning the bike
    Cleaning your bike is a personal thing. I would however recommend you clean it at least once a month. It's amazing how much you find when you clean a vehicle. Some people recommend cleaning your chain regularly, others don't. Regardless of cleaning the chain, it is a good idea to at least lube your chain every 600-1000km depending on use.

    Servicing the bike
    If you're not confident in doing the servicing yourself, don't. Thats why they invented bike mechanics. However, basic oil changes etc are easy enough and most decent socket/spanner/screwdriver kits have what you'll need.
    Chain adjustment is something you should check and adjust yourself on a regular basis. I check mine every ride and adjust as required.

    Music and phone
    Personally I like that I can't use the phone while riding. In fact I think talking on the phone while riding creates an unncessary and dangerous distraction.
    For music, get an MP3 player or some such device and 'in ear' plugs not the 'bud' type. If you're keen you can get earmold plugs.

    Wind noise.
    If you've got music, you won't have wind noise. It is a good idea to wear noise reducing ear plugs. Different people have different ears, so try a few different ones to see which works best for you. The disposable foam type plugs irritate the inside of my ears, but other people love them. I find the 'putty' type pretty good and it doesn't irritate the inside of my ears. Again, if you're keen and can afford them, earmolds are supposedly the ducks guts.

    Foggy visor.
    Cheap option is either a little dishwashing liquid or shampoo (not the 2-1 stuff) polished on the visor. If you wear glasses, don't forget to treat them as well. As others have said a product called cat crap is supposedly pretty good. Plus, as others have said, there's diffent brands of 'film' you can put on the visor, but if you wear glasses then these are useless as your glasses will fog up unless you treat them with something as well.

  16. Its a new bike, so I got the manual alright.
    I had a go at the headlight twiddling, but just needed a second opinion on whether the headlight is crap, or im just making a dogs dinner of it!
    Apparently its the light, which is nice to know. I will get a brighter one.

    I bought mine from raceway suzuki on Keilor road, and to be fair, they were really helpful, and I am booked in for a 500km mini service where they will go through some bits and pieces with me (but not the main 1000km service, which I have to pay for ;))

    With regards to ATGATT, not a problem, I wouldnt even consider kevlar pants to be proper gear, and I knocked back a whole host of pants becuase they didnt have thigh pad protection. If and when I crash, I intend to be the most cotton wool wrapped rider there ever was! So ear protection is something I need to get ASAP. I have tried in ear bud headphones, but its impossible to keep the things in, they keep falling out when I put my helmet on!
    It may be that I have to entertain myself with my own thoughts instead of background music. I hope I dont bore myself to sleep at the wheel!

    Once it gets a bit brighter in the evening and I have some time off work, i will get out there and just have a go at the bike and figure out as much as I can. Right now, as I siad, all my riding has been done in the dark, not becuase I want to , but tis the only opportunities I have had so far.

    Other than that, again, thank you for the feedback on all my queries. I'll post up further stuff once I have managed to get time to get mucky playing with the bike!
  17. I found the same thing with ear bud earphones. You can get 'in ear' earphones which work much better.
  18. #18 DrewMan, Jun 23, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    For music/phone - I have a Chatterbox XBi2 set on bluetooth.

    Tools on the bike - puncture kit at a minimum (its like your spare tyre to a certain extent)

    You dont need to clean your bike every day (but it doesnt hurt). The biggest thing you need to worry about is that you need to inspect your chain every now and then for wear and tear. Make sure its not too dirty etc.

    For anti fog - I got a pinlock fitted to my visor and I havent looked back


    As for wind noise - some helmets are better than others at keeping it down. Usually the more expensive helmets are better at keeping it down than the cheaper ones. If you cant stand it, get some $2 earplugs
  19. what is the story with pinlock? How does itwork?
  20. Well, I grabbed myself a can of puncture repair spray stuff today and some chain lube, so getting there.

    Took the bike out for an 80km jaunt around kilmore, Wallan, Broadford today. Really enjoyed myself. Still to get my earplugs, but will pick those up tomorrow. Have tomorrow off so will clean the bike tomorrow and try and start to learn more about some of the mechanical aspects.

    Havent done anything about the fogging, but didnt have it today, but again, it was a lot warmer, so may put that on hold for a while.

    Here is a quick question though, anyone have any tricks for remembering to turn your indicators off? Damn if I dont turn a corner and then remember the blinkers are till on 2 minutes later. Not good!

    Oh, and I have discovered that I get the worst wind noise when I am crouched over the bike. the windshild appears to divert the wind straight into my face. The more I sit up, the less noise I get. I may look at a new windshield. I think i saw a thread on here recently about higher ones. Something to look at.