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Discussion Starter #1
Had my 300 for 2 weeks now. Still cnt ride on main streets. Speed limit is 70mph but people go 80plus and its kinda windy. I was blown across my lane almost into dirt at 73mph when a gust of wind hit me.

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You'll be fine. You just need to calm down. If you haven't taken a basic rider safety course, I suggest you do so. Other than that, you just need time in the seat.
 

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Had my 300 for 2 weeks now. Still cnt ride on main streets. Speed limit is 70mph but people go 80plus and its kinda windy. I was blown across my lane almost into dirt at 73mph when a gust of wind hit me.
I spent 3 months just on the local streets around my house before I ever hit the first 40 mph "main road". Then I spent a lot of time on the up-to 45 mph roads before venturing onto the local 50-60 mph expressways. Repeated again before hitting the freeway. It's okay to not be in a rush. Although I'm 40 I approached it like a new 15yo driver. Because basically you are straight up learning a new skill that's dangerous af, and it doesn't happen over night, and it takes time to build that experience.

Also, read the "crash-bang-boom" sub-forum to educate yourself about common mishaps. Saved me a lot of trouble, anyway.
 

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Don't have a death grip on the handlebars, grip them like you would an open tube of toothpaste. When you fight resistance from the front wheel you actually amplify the effect. Stay to the far right (especially when big trucks pass) and the bike will want to naturally lean in when a gust hits. As said above, take your time and ease into it, practice makes perfect!
 

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Squeeze the tank with your thighs. This will make you a lot more comfortable during high winds.

The more afraid you get during more wind, the harder you squeeze. You'll do fine then.
 

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Take the course, take the course, take the course. It will boost your confidence more than just practicing by yourself. After that, it you still need more time to get comfortable, empty parking lots on Sunday mornings make excellent practice arenas. I had the benefit of already having a similar-type skill-set (you would be surprised how similar flying and riding are) and am a bit of an adrenaline junkie, so it was an area in which I really thrived. My 55 year old mother went fairly quickly from being intimidated of bikes at all to loving her HD Dyna Switchback (which is not a small bike). All it takes is seat time and perseverance. Best of luck!
 

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I get a lot of wind here in IL and the trick is trusting the bike and leaning into it. Gusting wind is worse. Still gives me some anxious moments.

Take the course. It will help.
 

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Roads are bad for learning. I spent about 2 weeks and 100 miles on neighbirhood streets i knew then moved up to city, then highway
 

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you should only be scared if you don't know what you're doing

if you don't know what you're doing then take the class
 

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There's lots of good advice here. Find yourself some nice surface streets, you know, 35-45-ish mph and practice practice on those. Or maybe find a nice school parking lot and practice there. Once you're comfortable there go ahead and try a regular, fairly unbusy street. Once you've gained some confidence there head out to the highway ... but not during rush hour.

As a new rider your situational awareness sucks and you don't have any muscle memory to rely on. There's nothing wrong with this, we all started at square one. Riding in the parking lot helps you develop the muscle memory. You'll learn to use the clutch and shift gears, braking, and to turn the bike a bit. That's good. You'll start to get a feel for how the bike responds and these things and it will become more second nature. Soon you won't be thinking about shifting or braking so much, you'll just be doing it. Then you go to the next step and hit the streets and add a little bit more speed and some light traffic. You start building on your shifting/braking/turning skills and now you can add some situation awareness to the mix and try to be aware of what traffic is doing around you and keeping track of cars. As you grow you can head out to the highway and then later try it during rush hour.

This is a building process. The time it takes is different for each one of us. Don't worry if you head out to the highway and you aren't comfortable, you may not be ready for the fast pace at which things are happening. My first time out on a busy 55mph surface street I quickly realized I was in a bit over my head, things around me were happening too fast for me to keep track of. I cut through some neighborhoods and found a better way home. You'll know when you're ready for the next step.

Don't let your nerves or being a little scare stop you. Get some practice in and it should help those feeling go away. (But, always be mindful that you're on two wheels with precious little protection. Gear up, ride defensively, and have a healthy respect for the fact that you're on two wheels.)
 

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As a little anecdotal motivation, when I took the course it was the first time I operated a motorcycle. Due to inexperience, I nearly took out one of the instructors while pulling away from parking at the beginning of day 2. I also dropped the loaner bike halfway through the day while practicing emergency braking. By the end of the course though, I was quite confident. It's a learning curve, take your time and only do what you are comfortable with. Don't push too hard or you'll make it much less enjoyable for yourself.
 

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No fast roads and stay away from traffic until you are 110% confident in yourself as a rider. Parking lots are a good place to practice balance, turning, stopping, etc. It takes time. I've been at this for about 39 years (including 20 motocross which I highly recommend for learning) and it still takes about 1500 miles until I "completely own" the bike. Have fun and ride SAFE!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks folks.... this helps out. I did take the class but this is the first time ever being on a motorcycle. I will take it easy and learn.

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Just got my bike two weeks ago and hit the freeway twice, at night tho, when there aren't that many cars around. The bike does wiggle a litte at high speed. But you should take a safety course if you haven't.
 

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when you're comfortable with neighborhood riding and want to move up to hwy but without all the traffic, i find that early sunday mornings, like 6 or 7, is perfect. There's almost no traffic around my city.

Also, do you know another rider that can guide you around? That brings some peace of mind.
 

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Biggest thing to do for any true novice....
Play with the clutch.
Find out where it engages.

Next
Understand your tachometer and your speed. This comes as second nature to me from driving a lot.

Last
Know how you can maneuver. Go around 2 blocks making the same turns until you are comfortable. Then go find a different scenario
 

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Squeeze the tank with your thighs. This will make you a lot more comfortable during high winds.

The more afraid you get during more wind, the harder you squeeze. You'll do fine then.
What he said. Loose on the bars too. Let the bike work, not you. It will want to track straight.
 

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Been on my ninja (first bike) for about 11 months. The biggest thing for me, in addition to the bars, is to make sure that your elbows aren't locked. If you're going in a straight line you might have a tendency to start locking your elbows and keeping your arms straight, especially with the upright seating position of the 300, its really easy to do. I had to consciously remember to not do that, and to keep my elbows bent and my upper body slightly arched forward.

In windy situations, the thing to remember is not to panic. Gusts from the side will feel quite scary until you learn to remember that if you're not already hugging the sides of the line, you actually have quite a bit of space before you end up in another lane or in the dirt. If you divide a single lane in to 5 smaller lanes, i tend to ride in #2, between the left and center. I do this personally since I see plenty of people drifting towards and in to my lane on a regular basis, and i go left so that my lights are directly in the driver side mirror of the guy in front of me. If it is just the fact you're getting hit from the front that is the issue, try tucking down to mitigate some of that. Also, I found the wind noise very distracting sometimes so I ride with earplugs every time.

This might be hard to do for someone who is scared to ride in particular situations, and i'm not saying putting yourself in scary situations is a good idea, but when i started out i did so with the intention of improving my skills. To that end i decided that the goal would be being able to ride in a thunderstorm if i ever got surprised by one (not likely in the bay but you never know with climate change). I would pick a day where it would be super foggy / windy / wet, and i would go out and ride. I started with surface streets, between 35-40 like someone suggested, and paid attention to how the bike handled in each. I kept looking out for weather patterns like this, one at a time, until i felt i was comfortable with them, and then i took it to the freeway in those same conditions.

-The bike will basically take you along for the ride and take suggestions on where it should go via the handlebars, if you let it. Do not death-grip the bars when the road gets wierd and the bike is weaving somewhat. It will always try to return to center on it's own.

-Ride loose, look around and be aware of your environment. If theres trees in the area, see how they're swaying to try and gauge how windy it is. Sometimes the wind from the front or buffeting by other vehicles on the road makes it hard to tell if its constantly windy.

-Don't stare at the outside of a corner. If you're getting pushed by the wind outward, lean in to it and look further in to the turn so you don't target fixate. Whatever you do do NOT snap the throttle shut when you get hit with a gust of wind in a corner. This will only make the bike more upright, decrease your turning and angle and make the situation worse. If there is to be any throttle change, it is more throttle SMOOTHLY, with more lean. The 300 does not have a huge pool of power so you won't have to worry too much about sliding the rear, this is a great bike to learn throttle control on.

-Learn body positioning. I'm sure in the course you took they mentioned leaning forward and then over to help the bike turn. It is possible to sit straight up in line with the vertical axis of the wheels, but I find shifting my weight in the seat and actively encouraging the bike to turn with my body AND the handlebars yields much better results than sitting like an toy RC bike rider would.

-The bike gets more stable as you increase speed, so if when you finally get past the surface streets speed range, you may find that the highway/freeway is actually a bit easier.
 
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