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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright guys, so here I am been riding alone for last two years with about 18k miles to my credit and one trip through Eastern Canada. MY best friend from college has been chomping at the bit to get a bike ever since I got mine and last weekend I went and rode a very nice '02 Bandit 600 home for him. (My SV feels like it accelerates worlds better ;D and all without that annoying handle bar buzz) He's passed the MSF and has all his gear and is a very responsible person as long as I've known him. So he's been out riding for a week or so by himself and we're stating to talk about going out and seeing some country and I'm a bit torn as to whether I should lead or let him lead.

One the one hand, if I lead then he theoretically has fewer things to worry about in terms of traffic, road conditions, and knowing where to go as I will be pointing those out to him and he can concentrate on his riding but I'm a little worried he might just fixate on me and that he might not be able to judge my braking force very well and run up my rear end. Then if he leads I can get a better sense of how he's doing and he will be able to gain more experience with picking up dangers and avoiding them all while I don't have to worry about him possibly getting into a corner too hot and running up my backside. I also wouldn't have to worry about out pacing him since we would go at his speed.

So do you guys and gals think I should lead or follow?
 

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I think you'd both be safer if you were leading as long as you are totally aware of the surroundings. A newbie leading isn't a good idea because he may pace himself faster so you don't think he's a wus. Also, a newbie probably won't be as good at watching for what the cages are doing around you.
There's my .02 for you.
Hope you have a fun, safe ride.
 

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When I went out with my brother, we did both. I let him lead so I could get a feel for the pace he's comfortable with. Then I led so he could watch me and copy all my bad habits / terrible form. :-[
We switched leaders 2-3 times.
 

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Since he's new to group riding this is your opportunity to show him how to do things correctly.

You should lead.
Have a conversation before the ride, show him the hand signals you're going to use and explain the meaning. Decide on the pace and stick to it. Show him how to ride staggered correctly. Lay it all out for him. IOW take charge of the ride.

Once you've started keep a close watch on your mirrors and make all of your corner entries very, very controled. This will keep him from both being intimidated and feeling like he needs to "rail"

J
 
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I have always believed that the less experienced riders whould lead, that way they set the pace and stay within their comfort zone. Also, from experience, it is annoying and possibly dangerous to lead because you will always be looking in your mirrors to se how he is doing.
 
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Gotta agree with Tiger on this one. If you let him lead, not only will you not be checking your mirrors the whole time to see if he's there, you'll be in a much better position to observe his skills and offer help. I'm teaching my wife to ride now, I feel a lot better being able to see what she's doing (well, and also stare at her ass - talk about target fixation ;)), and she's told me she'll feel better with me there to serve as a buffer between her rear and the rest of the traffic, when the time comes for that.
 

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Most articles Ive read suggest putting the newbies up front. That way they can set the pace, and you can keep an eye on them easier.
 

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I've read it's also better for the n00bs to be in front. Something about braking and possibly ramming into the leader.
 

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You lead but make sure he doesnt ride up right next to you or behind you, he should stagger himself in the other tire track and farther back then you. Also be sure and stress that he doesnt have to keep up if he feels he cant, it isnt a compitition and that if you do get ahead of him that you will wait for him at the next stop sign or intersection, where ever it is safe for you to wait.
 

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I think it depends on how much self control you have. If you can resist the temptation to take a curve fast or show off, I think you should lead. A new rider who is leading doesn't have much of an idea of how fast or slow is acceptable and may feel compelled to push hard in order to make you think he is a "natural" or to make up for his percieved lack of riding skill. So, provided that you are responsible and mature, you should lead and explicitly instruct your buddy to stay at least 4 bike lengths behind and in the other tire track.
 

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You should lead and make sure he knows all the signals. Just take it slow, no need to scrape pegs on his first country ride :-D don't forget to point out gravels and other road hazards ;-) Oh btw if he rides staggered to you, then he shouldnt have a problem of not being able to stop in time and running into you. Just tell him not to follow your line, and be to the left or right of you. Have fun!
 

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i dont think you should ride with him until he's had more miles under his belt. it sounds like you're going to be too pre-occupied worrying about him that you're not going to be riding smart.

let him ride a few more miles on his own to get his riding feet under him and then take him for a nice scenic ride
 

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I've been torn with the same decision before too. I lead, he doesn't get lost, and can watch me to learn form and whatnot. But then thats the problem, he could get caught up in watching me and not catch other things that he should be looking out for himself. I ended up leading my friend through a nice little road in the middle of winter and he freaked when he saw me brake for a turn. He ended up in a snow bank.

Honestly leading or having him lead both have their problems.
 

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if you lead, he's going to watch you and possibly pick up on any bad riding habits you have - (no ones perfect).

let him learn his bike and get comfortable enough that he can ride without freaking out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the replies, I guess I ought to just give him the talk about riding within his limits and then let him decide which he would prefer and let him know about the dangers of either way.
 
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