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Old 04-29-2013, 05:24 AM   #46
High Country Herb
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Originally Posted by joshsvoss View Post
I'm afraid to say I don't have much experience besides the MSF course. That and and tons and tons of research on forums and books that have made me realize I aimed way too high with the 2-up trip. Right now I'm just trying to find out if I will eventuallly get used to the VFR weight, and if it's not an impossibility to have it as a first bike. Obviously I realize it is not ideal as a first bike.
Wise move, starting slow. It's important to be familiar and comfortable with the bike, especially before doing a 2-up trip.

So the tip over on the F650; did you put your foot in sand/gravel, or was it just the sheer weight of the bike getting away from you? Don't beat yourself up over it (most of us have done something similar), but it would be good to know what happened to avoid it in the future. It is usually a foot slipping, setting a foot down where the ground is sloping away, or an abrupt stop that momentarily upsets the balance of the bike.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:32 PM   #47
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What not to take

I cannot advise on a bike.

The best advice I can give is to not pack for more than a few days. Believe it or not California is not short of stores. You can get everything you might need on the road. Do not take extra batteries, oil, or extra T-shirts. If there is something you find you should have taken, you can stop at Big 5 or Wal-Mart and buy it.

If you plan on camping keep it simple. If you plan to hotel it, you don't need much more that a toothbrush, etc..

You'll probably want to buy souvenir T-shirts along the way. Bring old shorts, socks, etc. and throw them out when dirty.

There are many ways to do this. My favorite is to camp, but eat at cafes for dinner and breakfast. But hotel is definitely easy and light.

The one thing about California is to be prepared to layer up and down. You can go from damn cold to damn hot in 20 miles.

The other thing about California is that it is a beautiful state. Don't come with fixed plans. Listen to the locals. They are friendly and will send you to some cool places. That being said, don't miss Yosemite or the Avenue of the Giants. Also 395 east of the Sierra beats hell out of the Central Valley (read I-5.)

Be more clear on how you plan to eat/ sleep, and you should get some good advice.

QED screwed with this post 04-29-2013 at 04:45 PM
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:43 AM   #48
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I'm gonna have to agree with AdventurePoser and High Country Herb.

Get comfortable with the bike first. Starting with the VFR isn't impossible, my 1st bike was a Honda Magna that used the old VFR750 engine and weighed 100 pounds more. You'll get used to the weight and the more you ride the better and more natural it'll become.

Don't worry too much about dropping your bike, it's actually good if your first bike ain't pretty to start off cause you're likely to drop it, but don't let that get you down. Pick it up and go again.

I'd suggest putting at least a few thousand miles on the bike before even putting a passenger on. I personally worried so much that I put around 10,000 miles on before I let my girl ride with me, but I didn't want to drop the bike with her on it. You don't have to put that many on but don't worry about the miles, wait til you are confident then go.

Start small and when you work your way up to travel down thru Cali look me up, I'll show you some good places if I'm still in the area.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:31 AM   #49
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I'd suggest putting at least a few thousand miles on the bike before even putting a passenger on. I personally worried so much that I put around 10,000 miles on before I let my girl ride with me, but I didn't want to drop the bike with her on it. You don't have to put that many on but don't worry about the miles, wait til you are confident then go.
Agreed, you don't necessarily need to have lots and lots of miles on the bike before you try two-up, but it does depend on the bike and level of confidence. My SO and I were both newbies to motorcycling and we took (and passed) the MSF course. He then rode solo for a couple of months, put on around 1000 miles, before I rode as a passenger. I think taking the MSF course myself made me a better passenger.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:17 AM   #50
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Agreed, you don't necessarily need to have lots and lots of miles on the bike before you try two-up, but it does depend on the bike and level of confidence. My SO and I were both newbies to motorcycling and we took (and passed) the MSF course. He then rode solo for a couple of months, put on around 1000 miles, before I rode as a passenger. I think taking the MSF course myself made me a better passenger.
Confidence is the key, and taking classes and doing lots of riding makes all the difference. I started riding in 1998 and now have about 300K on the odometer and credit my safety record to several moto classes, and LOTs of practice in parking lots, reading, and just plain riding.

I think it's reasonable to ride a few thousand miles before taking a passenger...after all, the pillion's health and safety is entirely dependent on the pilot's skill. It takes some miles to become completely at home and comfortable on the bike.

Have fun!
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:24 AM   #51
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Oh and don't forget to do HWY36 between Red Bluff and Fortuna it's fun even in a car,lotsa good views.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:20 AM   #52
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Josh,

Did you get the VFR? The more I think about it, and read the other advice here, I think this particular VFR is going to be an awesome first bike for you. With the pre-scratched fairings, you won't feel bad if you tip it over. Just consider the bike a learning tool, and don't stress over it.

How are the tires? You were concerned about leaning too far and low siding. Good tires are your best preventative measure against that (along with watching out for sand/gravel in the roadway). If the tires are worn, I would suggest an all weather tire or a street oriented "dual sport" tire such as the Pirelli Scorpion Trail. I have them on my Aprilia, and they stick like glue. They are tough enough for dirt roads, too.

The weather should be getting good in your area, correct? I think you should spend some Saturdays doing 300 mile rides to the east, away from traffic. Along with some shorter rides, you will have enough confidence to do your California trip in no time.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:40 AM   #53
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There is a very nice VFR for sale in Redding,CA for 3500$,has some nice Givi stuff on it,it's on Redding Craigslist,http://redding.craigslist.org/mcy/3778869959.html
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:43 AM   #54
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I agree with High Country, you could make a VFR work for you as a first bike. I recently sold a 98...loved that bike, but in the end, I was too tall for it.

Watch out for the valve adjustment at 15K miles. Very pricy....one reason you see so many for sale with 13-17L miles on them.

Have fun, and look me up when you get to So Cal.

Steve
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:10 AM   #55
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As a rider of upright bikes all my life, I cannot understand why anybody would want to ride a bike hundreds of miles through beautiful countryside where you are looking at the front wheel.
My roomate in SF had a VFR and I would pull it a block to get at my KLR.
As a first bike, really. Would any of you guys let your daughter sit on the back of a VFR with a guy using this as his first bike, really.
This trip, using a sports touring bike instead of a more practical upright bike with a passenger is a receipt for disaster.
Anybody recommending this bike for a tour of California, with some of the most dangerous drivers in the country, on a VFR, with a passenger, being ridden by an inexperienced rider should be held personally responsible for the outcome of this trip.
You asked for advice and I'm giving you the safest advice you will ever get. Buy yourself a Vstrom 650 or similar. A nice safe, comfortable touring bike and bring your girl home to her parents in the condition you picked her up in.
I have ridden lots and I have seen lots and one thing that sticks in my mind is looking in a mirror seeing a guy tumbling along a road after over shooting a corner and having a head on with a volvo. A simple thing, lack of experience and all the classes in the world will not buy this.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:35 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by wheatwhacker View Post
As a rider of upright bikes all my life, I cannot understand why anybody would want to ride a bike hundreds of miles through beautiful countryside where you are looking at the front wheel.
My roomate in SF had a VFR and I would pull it a block to get at my KLR.
As a first bike, really. Would any of you guys let your daughter sit on the back of a VFR with a guy using this as his first bike, really.
This trip, using a sports touring bike instead of a more practical upright bike with a passenger is a receipt for disaster.
Anybody recommending this bike for a tour of California, with some of the most dangerous drivers in the country, on a VFR, with a passenger, being ridden by an inexperienced rider should be held personally responsible for the outcome of this trip.
You asked for advice and I'm giving you the safest advice you will ever get. Buy yourself a Vstrom 650 or similar. A nice safe, comfortable touring bike and bring your girl home to her parents in the condition you picked her up in.
I have ridden lots and I have seen lots and one thing that sticks in my mind is looking in a mirror seeing a guy tumbling along a road after over shooting a corner and having a head on with a volvo. A simple thing, lack of experience and all the classes in the world will not buy this.
+1. Go buy a lowered upright bike, and don't look back, or think twice. A lowered V-Strom 650 with luggage will see you through to the end of the trip, and keep going as far as you want.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:30 AM   #57
High Country Herb
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Originally Posted by wheatwhacker View Post
As a rider of upright bikes all my life, I cannot understand why anybody would want to ride a bike hundreds of miles through beautiful countryside where you are looking at the front wheel.
My roomate in SF had a VFR and I would pull it a block to get at my KLR.
As a first bike, really. Would any of you guys let your daughter sit on the back of a VFR with a guy using this as his first bike, really.
This trip, using a sports touring bike instead of a more practical upright bike with a passenger is a receipt for disaster.
Anybody recommending this bike for a tour of California, with some of the most dangerous drivers in the country, on a VFR, with a passenger, being ridden by an inexperienced rider should be held personally responsible for the outcome of this trip.
You asked for advice and I'm giving you the safest advice you will ever get. Buy yourself a Vstrom 650 or similar. A nice safe, comfortable touring bike and bring your girl home to her parents in the condition you picked her up in.
I have ridden lots and I have seen lots and one thing that sticks in my mind is looking in a mirror seeing a guy tumbling along a road after over shooting a corner and having a head on with a volvo. A simple thing, lack of experience and all the classes in the world will not buy this.
This is valid advice for someone with lack of self control. Most new riders younger than 30 are at risk of fitting into this category. At 41 years old with 20 years of street riding under my belt, I would still be concerned about this.

Lots of people start with bikes faster than the VFR, and survive, so it can be done. A bike like this demands a healthy measure of caution. Choose a bike that makes you happy, but take cautionary tales like this seriously.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #58
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Just get something and get going!waiting for the perfect bike is a mistake,I bought a 250 Ninja and went all over on it and would do it again,people who say you need this or that are not seeing the big picture of just getting going and then deciding where YOU want to be in this hobby,close your eyes point towards something and go ride.OOPPS not a conventional approach to life!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:06 AM   #59
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I think Wheatwhacker makes some valid points, but the VFR is a very benign bike to ride. I believe a new rider with some self control could be very happy on one.

That being said, the VFR riding position is pretty neutral-you would not "be looking at your front wheel all day."

I think the most important things would be to practice, practice, and practice. No passenger until you have a few thousand miles under your belt since a passenger completely changes the riding dynamic.

Finally, the plastic on the Viffer is expensive to replace...much cheaper to drop a V Strom a few times.

Just my $.02
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by 8lives View Post
Just get something and get going!waiting for the perfect bike is a mistake,I bought a 250 Ninja and went all over on it and would do it again,people who say you need this or that are not seeing the big picture of just getting going and then deciding where YOU want to be in this hobby,close your eyes point towards something and go ride.OOPPS not a conventional approach to life!
I agree...there is no perfect bike, but there are some bikes that are better for beginners than others. The "big picture" is riding safely and enjoyably and hopefully engaging in the sport for many years.
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