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VTR250 Newb riding experiences

Discussion in 'NSW' started by RedHelmet, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. Hi guys,

    I’d like to make notes about my first bike and learning experience (and related newbie questions (after I’ve STFA)). I hope this is an appropriate place for such posts.

    I’ve got a stock VTR250 EFI in red colour. I’ve not yet ridden any interesting locations so I don’t have any photos for now. Plenty of stock photos available online if anyone doesn’t already know what one looks like!

    Started off up and down local streets and forgetting to cancel the indicator as there was too much going on in my head. Max speed was 40km/h and the average was slower than on my bicycle. Progressed to practising hill starts and quick braking from ~15km/h as I thought these may be some more important skills that may be handy as a learner and help me become familiar with the controls and handling.

    Been a few months now and only have time to ride for an hour or two on the weekends and the occasional commute so progress is slow but I’m up to stalling and beeping the horn accidentally only once every couple of rides now.

    My L’s are about to expire so it’s time to cram in the skills needed for the MOST.

    Newbie experiences:
    • Indicator left on after turning.
    • Didn’t notice the engine stop switch activated.
    • Beeped horn accidentally when passing a girl.
    • Dropped helmet when hanging it from bars.
    • Almost had head ripped off when doing first head check at 80km/h.

    • The sound when accelerating through the 7-8,000 RPM range.
    • Ease and stability at highway speeds.
    • Quick gear changes.

    • So many other interesting LAMS bikes I’ve seen since frequenting this forum.
    • Helmet hair.
    • ATGATT.
    • Mid-late afternoon sun.
    • Cold hands.

    • Why can I trackstand on a bicycle but not do a U-turn on a motorbike without dragging my feet?!
    • Is it possible to downshift to first and match engine speeds so that the is no chatter from the clutch?
    • How to hold the nozzle when filling up petrol. Kinda just hovering mid-tank right now. The first time I filled up I pulled out too early and split fuel on the tank. So lucky it wasn’t so much that it might drip down to the hot engine!
    • Can I build a non-contact tent-like shelter to cover the bike as soon as I park it outside? Currently using an eBay bike cover and worried it might melt if I cover the bike immediately after parking.

    Shopping list:
    • Reflective rim strips
    • Maybe a different looking headlight (not round)
    • Boots
    • Kevlar jeans with knee and hip protection or normal jeans with strap on protection worn underneath

    Thanks for your time.
  2. My comments.. Worth about as much as anyone cares to value them.

    1: prob wrong place for this post :) but we have all done that.. Mods will fix..

    2:Replace your helmet.. it might have only been a little drop.. but thats generally it for a helmet.. especially one that a more "budget aware" learner might buy.. its up to you.. its your head.

    3:Get kevlar jeans.. stories ive heard of what denim does during a crash and the removal process afterwards made me go and get some to wear UNDER my Cordura pants.. "yes.. they are still denim jeans but with kevlar inside.. but you are less likely to get molten denim into the scrape points" Better still.. get cordura pants that have winter linings and lots of mesh for summer.

    4: "accidentally" beeping the horn at a girl.. yeah.. i "Accidentally" do that all the time.. :)

    5: Most importantly.. HAVE FUN!
  3. Don't worry about the petrol leaking onto the engine. I know from experience of a leaking fitting under the tank which gushed a flow of fuel onto the hot engine for more than a minute that it's not enough to make it combust :eek:hno::furious::censored::cry::bolt:
  4. couple more..
    Downshifting to first.. i can see your theory.. but blipping to match first gear with engine speed would be a serious art form.

    Trackstanding.. in this case the bike weighs more than you and has a whole new centrifugal force from the spinning of the engine wanting to do its own thing.. forget what you do on the pushie... learn to ride/feather the clutch (1st gear) with throttle and use the back brake for speed control/stability. Get going in a straight line and learn to go as slow (and straight) as you can.. (Vic learner test has us doing an 18 meter straight line no faster than 10 seconds.. ) once you get to do this comfortably you can just stick a u turn in there without thinking all that much.
  5. Petrol doesn't burn easily, it's the vapour above the fuel that burns (you can actually put out a lit match by immersing it in petrol, though I wouldn't recommend trying it at home). So as long as you don't spill enough to form a decent puddle under the bike you should be fine, although regular spills will ruin the paintwork.

    Leave the headlight alone. Even if you can find something that's both legal (ie ADR approved) and reasonably priced, you'll only end up ruining the resale value of the bike (everyone will naturally assume it's been replaced due to accident damage).
  6. Newbie experiences - done all those except dropped the helmet. Replace yours. I've even bipped the horn instead of starting it on the upgrade bike, plus left indicators on after a year and a half, just b/c it is a new bike.

    Interesting LAMS - you can either spend the money and get something else, or suck it up until the end of your LAMS. It's only a year and a bit; you won't die for lack of coolness.
    Helmet hair - don't be a pussy, and get over it. We all do.
    ATGATT - your choice, but I like my skin where it currently is.
    Buy a tinted visor and heated grips.
    Hovering mid tank is what I do/did with my VTR. Works for me. Otherwise the tank isn't full.
    Kevlar jeans, proper boots - buy!
    Headlight is your choice, but usually not worth changing around a LAMS bike too much. Also might make it more difficult to sell b/c it isn't "normal looking" for a VTR.

    If your progress is slow, and your Ls are about to expire, it might be worth investing in some sort of course to improve your skills. Also might be worth finding someone on this forum with whom you can ride, and who might be able to mentor you.

    UTurn comes with practise. Practise a lot. Took me awhile too, and I'm still not very good at them.
  7. and if you get it wrong.. the resulting explosion is bound to put the match out regardles.. :rofl:
  8. this is along the lines of what i was taught at my learner's course

    basically...ONLY rest your helmet on a flat surface...never on your pillion pegs mirrors or handlebars as in time it can damage the interior of your helmet from pressure being put on specific point's - it's your noggin' your talking about...don't mess around because it's easy/looks cool....keep in mind aswell that you could also be exposing your helmet to excessive heat when hanging it from the handlebars with heat rising from the engine area...again...will bugger the inside of your helmet (think of when a foam cup is subjected to heat)

    the same goes for leaving your helmet ontop of your petrol tank....the fumes/residue can in time deteriorate the interior of your helmet....

    as for dropping it? i dropped mine walking down a driveway recently..inspected it...i dont think there's an issue with it but i'll still be replacing it the second i have the money spare to do so...really not worth the risk...and hell..it's an excuse for a new lid ! why not !

    and portagrug is spot on with the u-turn - 1st gear...clutch ...rear brake...it's what they'll teach you to do in your p's test anyway.

    lol leaving indicators on i did on the first penrith/blue mountains fortnightly runs i was at...left the meeting area and was abruptly reminded by rennsport when stopped at a set of lights to turn them off...this was near a year into frequent riding *shakes head*
  9. the thing about helmets is....they are meant to be able to take a hit. i had dropped my helmet, bumped it on door frames walking about and rested in on handlebars because its convenient and it still with stood a high side face 1st into a pole haha.

    I buy a quality helmet every time AND if i had to replace it every time i bumped it i would be broke as fuarrrk. its going to happen, really it depends on the type of drop but from the sounds of it your fine.

    but hey thats just my opinion. im sure there will be people who beg to differ and ultimately its up to you, what ever gives you piece of mind.
  10. 1. Oops, another noob mistake! I meant to post in "New Riders and Riding Tips" but was browsing the Sydney Learner Sessions at the time.
    2. Thanks for the advice about the helmet. It was bought on a budget so I should do something about it.
    3. I didn't know they were available with mesh. I'm wearing a pair of textile pants but I made the mistake of not getting them with mesh so it's like riding in a plastic bag when I take out the thermal lining. I assume that they may be available with separate waterproof and thermal linings similar to my jacket.
    4. What made it worse was that I waved at her to say "sorry" before I realised :-w
    5. It's been great fun so far. Can't wait to ride some more interesting roads.
  11. At the moment I'm downshifting to first as I'm still a bit unstable going around roundabouts. With more practise I hope I don't need to go so slow.

    I'm finding it so easy to ride at a moderate speed with so much stability than a bicycle at 60km/h but so tricky at low speed. Definitely will be concentrating on low speed balance more. Yes I was wondering about the spinning of the engine and whether that could really have a gyroscopic effect to aid in stability... I need all I can get but 10,000rpm may be a bit too much!

    I won't test the theory about the flammability of petrol any time soon. I'll just be more careful now that I know about it.

    I like the naked bike look but the round headlight was getting to me. I suppose it's working well enough and there are more important things I can spend my time on... like getting better at riding. Just getting carried away.

    I got the VTR250 thinking that I would be a reliable and capable bike. I've still got a lot of learning to do so will keep it for a while. I was thinking about a Gladius while I was shopping but the VTR250 came up at a good price second hand.

    Thanks for the other tips. I may either shave my head or grow it long to try avoid the extra nerdy look.

    Yep, the reason why I misposted in this section was because I was looking at the Sydney Learner sessions. Am interested to watch and learn from other riders.

    It was a silly drop of the helmet. Coming home from work early and hit peak hour traffic. Was basically walking the bike and running late for an appointment. Pulled in to a petrol station to make a phone call and in the rush and frustration I just hung the helmet on the bars. Of course it dropped off then to make it even more stressful. Now you mention it I do recall all those points at the pre-learner course ](*,)

    Thanks to you all for the knowledgeable and assuring comments.
  12. The VTR is a fantastic learner bike. I'm just about to sell mine after upgrading, but she's been a great bike for the 1.5 years I've had her, putting around 26000km on.

    Re going around roundabouts in first... I would recommend shifting to second if you can. 1st gear on a VTR is very jerky and more difficult to control and keep smooth. You will be more stable in 2nd, whilst using a bit of clutch and rear brake if necessary. Once you get better at it, you won't need the brake/clutch.

    Re the helmet hair - you can also use some "product" on it if it really bugs you. I don't, b/c I don't want that shit in my helmet, but if you've put some stuff in your hair, a bit of water will perk it up again. I can't be stuffed frankly...
  13. Re cold hands, get some glove liners. $12 from mcas. Thermal underwear for your hands.
  14. Yay, VTR250! :)

    Regarding 'other interesting LAMS bikes', there are other interesting ones indeed. That said, I don't think there isn't an experienced rider here who doesn't feel nostalgic about their VTR250. Around town and on tight twisty roads, they are tremendous fun. They won't win the Stop Light Grand Prix, but man... Full throttle, redlining it in the first three gears and still not losing one's licence; a wet-weight almost one whole pillion passenger lighter than most 1000cc bikes... They can be a tonne of fun if you ride them in a way which takes advantage of their best features - carving through the CBD and keeping sportsbikes honest on the tighter twisty roads where the big bikes can't deploy their horsepower advantage. Amazing fun. :D

    #1 way to get bored of a VTR250 quickly - only ride it on long (50+km each way) freeway commutes to/from work. :)
  15. Come down to Homebush on time and practice with other riders - with cones (not just chalk on the ground). You will get good advice and help from people there for the MOST. It's 1.00 pm Saturday - keep track on the Sydney Learner Sessions thread.
  16. An uneventful commute to work today on the M4 (not complaining!). Every time I ride I think that I'm improving which is a good feeling but still trying not to get too cocky or overconfident.

    Unfortunately was an hour late for the 1PM Homebush session last week but practised a bit myself on the markings without cones. (I thought that the session would run for a couple of hours but now realise that you can only practise that loop so many times before getting tired.) Just an hour of slow speed work so far has helped with my manoeuvering in underground carparks and I can now take the third exit of a roundabout in second gear (though the engine is down to less than 2000rpm and a bit lumpy).

    Thanks for the tips guys. Glad no one has explicitly called me soft after I've complained about cold hands and helmet hair.
  17. Actually, I think I called you a pussy about the helmet hair thing, but I was kidding - I'm sure you'll figure it out.

    Good to hear you think you're improving. Don't forget you can use your clutch/rear brake a bit in the roundabout, which will let you increase the revs without necessarily increasing speed. Handy if the revs are getting a bit low. Recommend practising it on a quiet street rather than a roundabout for the first time.
  18. Really stupid mistake this morning on the commute. Strapped a cooler bag to the pillion seat with one of those cam webbing straps and was wearing a backpack. While doing 70 km/h on the three lane road it seems that my backpack was bumping the cooler bag and forced it out from under the straps. I didn't feel it but noticed that all of a sudden cars disappeared from my mirrors and I think someone was honking me. Reached back with my left hand and the bag was gone!

    Fortunately I was in the left lane and there was a street about 20m ahead so I turned in all the time expecting that my bag would be run over by all the cars and trucks that were behind me. Parked and got ready to run back to the road and then saw the bag behind my bike! The webbing loop was hooked onto my right rear indicator and I had tied off the loose end of the strap to a handle of the bag so it was being towed about a metre behind me. Bag was all scuffed up which reminds me to get some kevlar jeans. May need to add a rack to my shopping list too.

    (BTW, can someone move this thread to a more appropriate place? Apologies again for the initial post in the wrong place)