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Discussion Starter #1
Well, the wait is over: yesterday , I rode to work for the first time !
A little history: got my SV before winter, first bike ever, never rode one.
Had a total 5 or 6 rides by myself, about 40 to 50 minutes each , no further than 15 miles or so.
Yesterday, I took her to work. 26 miles each way ( I avoided highways) .
A few comments:

1. The wind is there, more when I got up to the 50... m/h
2. One time, at the traffic light, I couldn't find the first gear. I tried to push the level down, but the neutral light was on. I flipped a few times to 2dn
and back, and finally was able to find 1st. Weird.
3. The cars around me were unhappy if I stayed under the speed limits.
A few people went around me in no pass zone, but all I did : followed the speed limits plus 3 to 5 miles extra.
4. Was able to test the low gas light, it came on at 150 miles. Now I know it works.
5. Did not have any issue with a regular nike bagpack, did not bother me at all.

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Took mine to work for the first time this year on Wed., 28º in the morning when I left. It was a bit chilly, but worth it.

S
 

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If you are having a hard time getting back into first... rock your back forward or backwards just a bit and it should slip right it. Never try to FORCE it. It's normal, no worries.
 

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Lifer
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Another helper for getting into first, let the clutch out (while still in neutral) then pull it back in again.

Drive next to a friend in a car with an accurate speedo and learn to correct your speed. I did what you're doing initially but the speedo on some people's bikes are off by as much as 10%. (60mph = 54mph kinda deal). I know mine is only off by about 4% so figure out how much yours is wrong by and correct it before a cager kills you.

If you have a second gen, know that your gas light has two stages. Blinking @ 1 gal. and solid on @ .5 gal.

Enjoy the ride man ;D
Gratz on the first ride to work. It's addicting.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for a hint. I will try it if (when) it will happen again.
The bike is a second gen, so, you're right, it just started to blink at 150.
I wore leather pants and jacket, helmet, gloves, touring boots,...
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Good job! I have gotten to the point with my SV that I instinctively double clutch (pull in, let out, pull in) from neutral to first and it always snicks right in. I commute every day its not raining when I wake up and have found the following to be true:
1. If you commute during rush hours (I do) be on extra high alert - esp in morning. Parents frantic to get the spawn to school; newb 16 yo showing off in daddies cage; over worked cubical rats juggling coffee, breakfast, and the cell phone convo with their latest facebook hook up; tired truckers who had the hammer down all night; plus early morning lighting conditions that render you invisible=very great danger.
2. The SV speedo is notoriously fast - mine reads almost 9% off (registers 100 at radar verified 91 - its good to have cop friends). Its as dangerous to ride slower than surrounding traffic as it is excessively faster regardless of the speed limit. I ride on I-75 in Cinci and if I rode at the posted speed limit of 55 I'd have a peterbilt up my *** as the "crowd" is usually running 70+.
3. Always ride in your gear and be prepped for the weather on the ride home.
4. ***You are entering the most dangerous phase of your riding career. You are gaining basic competence but are still not experienced. Practice Practice Practice - esp emergency stops. Sudden slow downs in traffic are common during rush hour and I have had many close calls when the guy in front of me in the fast lane slams on the binders to jump over to an exit. Another common threat in congestion on side roads and surface streets are people that stop suddenly and wave people through who are waiting to turn left onto a side street.
5. When the inevitable "big scare" happens (as it has to all of us) don't let it put you off riding - learn from it. Ten years ago I plugged a Honda VLX into the front end of a minivan. I basically walked away -broke the bike in half at the headstock and left me with a slight limp and some rash scars. I was freaked every ride for months after - but in the years since many of my best memories and friends have come from riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The other thing I forgot to write: switching into the 6th gear feels
a little different than the 5th or 4th , etc... It's kind of like it's not there; hard to find feeling...but it goes there.
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I wouldn't pay too much attention to your speedo unless you're more or less alone on the road (read: ticket-target). Ride with the flow of traffic and try to stay in the passing lane. In general, I keep a slightly faster pace than the traffic around me so that I can have some level of control as to when I am next to a cage that might try to crowd me. NEVER ride beside a car for any period of time, ride staggered just behind or in front.

You want to try to avoid lanes that traffic merge into. So avoid the right lane at stoplights (cars cut across this lane to make a right turn). Also, where lanes merge, you want to be in the one that does the merging so that you can control when you move over, rather than have to watch out for cars making their merge.

Basically, try to be in control of the space around you. We don't have crumple zones on the bike, so the only buffer we have is space. Just be aware of what's around you and try to keep a good zone of space clear.

Good luck, and remember, it's always better to ride than drive.
 

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I remember my first ride to work. Which was also my first ride on the highway. And my first ride more than 5 miles. And my first ride in 40-degree weather. Yeah, it was fun. 35 miles of 80mph+ turnpike in 30mph winds...good times.
 

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First off, congrats on your maiden commute. :)

1. The wind is there, more when I got up to the 50... m/h
This is something you'll get used to. I remember being really surprised at the amount of wind at 50mph, then after a couple of rides, it was no big deal. But 65 seemed crazy, then I got used to it and it was no problem. Soon, cruising at 75mph was comfy as could be. You'll get used to the wind.

2. One time, at the traffic light, I couldn't find the first gear. I tried to push the level down, but the neutral light was on. I flipped a few times to 2dn
and back, and finally was able to find 1st. Weird.
Are you trying to shift all the way into first (6,5,4,3,2,1) while stopped? Try shifting into 1st just before you come to a stop. You should be in 1st gear when you stop anyway, just in case something happens behind you and you have to make a quick getaway to avoid getting squished.

3. The cars around me were unhappy if I stayed under the speed limits.
A few people went around me in no pass zone, but all I did : followed the speed limits plus 3 to 5 miles extra.
It's been said, but it's safer to go with the flow of traffic, or a little faster. Try and seek out spots where you are relatively alone if you can.

4. Was able to test the low gas light, it came on at 150 miles. Now I know it works.
Yeah, that sounds about right. You should be able to get around 190 miles off a full tank, a little more if you're very nice to the throttle.

5. Did not have any issue with a regular nike bagpack, did not bother me at all.
Nothing wrong with a regular backpack at all. If you're gonna wear it a lot, try putting some reflective tape stripes on it somewhere, every little bit of visibilty you can get helps.
 

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Welcome, a congrats.

My 2 cents:

Change your oil. It might help a little with gear change feel & that persnickity 1st gear.

As stated before, the SV speedo is notoriously inaccurate. Try to follow the flow of traffic moreso than watching the speedo. Less chance of getting run over that way.

Wind noise on a Naked bike can be disconcerting, especially at high speeds. Wear earplugs under your helmet to quiet the noise.

Wear you gear, always. You never know when it will save your bacon, and as many here will tell you from experience (right, Wally? ;)) the ONE time you do not wear it, you'll wish you had.

Finally: practice, practice, practice!! Emergency stops, low speed maneuvering, U-turns and so forth are priceless skills you'll need daily on a motorcycle.

Best of luck, and enjoy yourself!
 

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Drive next to a car with an accurate speedo and learn to correct your speed. I did what you're doing initially but the speedo on some people's bikes are off by as much as 10%. (60mph = 54mph kinda deal).
Make sure its someone you know, it'd be a little weird tapping on a strangers window and asking them how fast they are going. :p

I don't even look at my speedo anymore, Get on ebay and find a GPS, I got a Garmin Quest 1 for 90$ seemingly brand new. It tells you what your true speed is and its cheaper and does more stuff than a speed-o-healer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
***Change your oil. It might help a little with gear change feel & that persnickity 1st gear.
***
I changed the oil and filter 1 week ago :)

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Best part of my day is looking forward to riding home from work. Keeps me sane :)
 

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Lifer
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*about 6th gear*
There's a false neutral between 5th and 6th. Make sure to manshift and not p*ssyfoot your way into 6th. :D

*zabrow187*
It's more fun when you get really close to a car with a large speed so you can figure out your speed lol.
 

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Well, the wait is over: yesterday , I rode to work for the first time !
A little history: got my SV before winter, first bike ever, never rode one.
Had a total 5 or 6 rides by myself, about 40 to 50 minutes each , no further than 15 miles or so.
Yesterday, I took her to work. 26 miles each way ( I avoided highways) .
A few comments:

1. The wind is there, more when I got up to the 50... m/h
2. One time, at the traffic light, I couldn't find the first gear. I tried to push the level down, but the neutral light was on. I flipped a few times to 2dn and back, and finally was able to find 1st. Weird.
3. The cars around me were unhappy if I stayed under the speed limits.
A few people went around me in no pass zone, but all I did : followed the speed limits plus 3 to 5 miles extra.
4. Was able to test the low gas light, it came on at 150 miles. Now I know it works.
5. Did not have any issue with a regular nike bagpack, did not bother me at all.

Serge
That's normal. Just let the clutch out and pull it back in and you should be able to find first. This also works if you are in a higher gear and it won't drop down to the next gear. Just let the clutch out until you feel it start to catch and then you should be able to change gears.
 

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Isn't in liberating? Last season, when my commute was seven miles instead of one, riding the SV was an absolute boon to every work day. Everyone's given good advice, but here are my quick thoughts:

-The neutral-to-first issue is normal for bikes. I sit at long red lights in neutral all the time, even though some say you shouldn't just in case you need to get away. Letting the clutch out just enough to slightly catch, while shifting to first, will let it in every time.

-Riding slower than traffic is dangerous for a few reasons. First, it causes drivers to get angry and, therefore, risky and stupid. Second, it means that speeding, multi-ton objects will be coming at you from the only direction you can't really see, behind. Riding slightly faster than traffic means that everything that enters your space enters where you can see it.

-As mentioned, the speedometer is 5%-10% off. If it says 50, you're actually going closer to 45. This is common for bikes.
 

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My advice is to pick up the book "Proficient Motorcycling". It includes very good strategies for avoiding encounters with cagers. There really aren't any absolute rules other then never ride in anyone's blind spot.

Rush hour places huge demands on your skills. If you are having a difficult time shifting gears and such, you might want to practice at off peak times and put aside rush hour riding for now. Non highways are actually more dangerous then freeways. The single largest danger being cagers turning left in front of you at an intersection. Also cagers turning into your path from side streets on the right.

Learn to scan up ahead. Try to see traffic scenarios develop ahead of you, but don't focus too much on single vehicle. Learn to process that information, adjust accordingly and move your focus to the next vehicle. Then check back on a situation you accounted for previously. Then start the cycle again. Practice this in your cage. You'll be surprised how disengaged from the driving process we likely used to be.

If you find your self uneasy at a certain speed it could be that you are not focusing far enough ahead. It also could be the speed is too fast for the situation. It also could be that you are not yet equipped to process all the information from your scanning at that speed.

I'm in favor of seeking out as much formal training as you can afford.

Marc
 
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