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I've been wanting a bike since forever and I've finally decided to stop thinking and start acting on it. My first step was to take the MSF class. I figured I'd do this before spending the cash on any gear, since I can get an MSF discount at the shops in my area, and because I figured it would be a good way to find out if I hated motorcycling.

There were about 12 students in the class on day 1, which was all classroom stuff. The class went smoothly and I was surprised that 11 of the 12 students had absolutely no motorcycle experience.

Day 2, the first day we got to ride, was awesome. There were 6 students in this class. We were all on bikes except one student, who had requested a scooter. First we did lots of clutch drills, easing out the clutch and getting a feel for the friction zone. I drive a standard with a very sensitive clutch, so this part was pretty easy for me. The person in the scooter didn't have to worry about it. All but two of the students got this part down really well (the two people who had issues with this had never driven a standard before).

After that we progressed to actually riding the bike for dozens of feet before stopping smoothly at the end of the range. That's when I noticed the guy next to me can't stop the bike. At all. He seemed to apply the brakes until he was going about 2-3mph, and then he'd put his feet down, release the front brake, and then paddle his feet Fred Flintsone style to stop the bike. Our instructor spent a lot of time getting him to work on this, but it never really caught on. I think he didn't really trust himself to put his feet down in time and he thought he'd drop the bike if he came to a stop with his feet on the pegs. That still doesn't explain why he'd let off the front brake.

More drills, weaving, etc etc. I was having a blast. Everyone was progressing in their skills except for Mr. No-stop and another student, who seemed to have problems with just about everything except going straight. This person could ride in a straight line pretty well, even during the slow speed drills, but stopping, turning, and starting gave them serious problems. They didn't get through the cone weave tests once without missing a turn. Maybe that's normal. My point wasn't to come here and slag on a couple of students for not having awesome skills after their first two days of riding. Not at all.

I'm slagging on them for a different reason. After the first day of riding they both went to dealerships and bought brand spanking new bikes. They both showed up to the second day of riding and were so happy about their purchases (they got them at separate dealerships...I didn't know you could buy a bike without a license but I now know you can). One person had the bike delivered to their home, the other person drove it home in the back of their truck. "What did you get?" I asked.

Mr. No-stop: R1
Clutchy: R6

Wow. R1 goes to a person who can't stop a 250cc bike in a parking lot. R6 goes to a person who laid down their bike no less than three times, once from revving and popping the clutch. You have to have less than 21 points to pass the MSF test (putting your foot down is a point, missing a cone is a point, going outside the lines is a point, etc). The R6 owner barely passed with 18 points. Hopefully they're take their bike to a parking lot and get some more practice in before hitting the open roads.

Personally, I'm cruising Craigslist for a 2003+ SV650s. My wife and I share a car and I'd like something to get to work on. Insurance is ridiculously cheap, even with full coverage, and they seem to get great gas mileage. I'm a fairly conservative driver (you people would freaking hate me at Deal's Gap) and I'm guessing I'll be the same way on two wheels. I certainly don't want to end up as a statistic.

I've been hitting all the shops in my area trying on helmets, jackets, gloves, etc. I was set to get the Tour Master Flex Series 2 (seems like the only jacket I would need, warm in the winter and zips down to mesh in the summer), and then a friend gave me a Joe Rocket jacket that didn't fit him (that came free with the bike he just purchased). Score! I've got boots and gloves, so I'm just waiting to pull the trigger on pants and a helmet (considering the Shoei RF-1000, a bit pricey for me, but I hear it's quiet and well ventilated, which is important to me).

I'm still trying to get my funding together for a new (to me) bike. I sat on a SV650s at the dealership and fell in love (but I can't afford to buy new). The bike seems like a comfortable fit for me. Everyone I've talked to says that it's a practical bike for commuting, and that I'd have fun taking it out of town for the twisties when I'm ready. Do you think this is too much bike for a beginner such as myself, or would it be a good match that I can grow with?
 

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Lifer
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You sound like me. Drive like an old man. Would rather live to see another day. You'll be fine on the SV. You sound like the type that would practice a lot on your own so you should be okay. The SV throttle is a little twitchy compared to the bikes in the MSF course but you'll get used to it.

Enjoy the bike when you get it :D
 

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welcome to the board.

Some people think the SV is a great first bike, and some think it isn't. I bought my SV after learning on a Ninja 250, and then taking a 6 year break before taking MSF and starting to ride again. It is a lot different than the bikes in msf, but you can ease into using more of the bike as you feel more comfortable.

I've put 2000 mile on it, and am still working things out, and practicing in parking lots.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You sound like the type that would practice a lot on your own so you should be okay.
Hah! Yeah, there's a decent parking lot a few blocks from my house. Yesterday I was in a used sporting goods store and saw a huge bag of tennis balls and thought "Hey, I can cut those in half to use as cones for a practice course."

I'm guessing at highway speeds the SV will be just as maneuverable as most bikes on the road, but how much more difficult will low-speed drills be? How much harder on the SV is it to make that U-turn without putting a foot down?
 

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I'm surprised at how easy your MSF course was to pass -- my instructors failed three out of a dozen or so riders, and none of them were near as bad as the guys you described.

I was the only one in the course to pass with 100% in both the classroom and riding tests. ;D
 

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I'm guessing at highway speeds the SV will be just as maneuverable as most bikes on the road, but how much more difficult will low-speed drills be? How much harder on the SV is it to make that U-turn without putting a foot down?
It takes some counter-weight but I can full lock turn at idle. I have actually made tighter turns on the SV, than I did in the MSF class (I only used 60% of the box for both turns)
 

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I'm surprised at how easy your MSF course was to pass -- my instructors failed three out of a dozen or so riders, and none of them were near as bad as the guys you described.
I had no failures in my class either, one of the girls couldn't turn in the box, but they could only deduct so many points for leaving the box... even thought she went 20' out of it.

avocado what state are you in?
 

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Welcome to the boards. Your MSF class sounded a whole lot like mine. We had a guy on a Honda Rebel that would walk his bike to a stop after mashing the brakes then letting off. We had another that could only go straight in first gear, if he got going at all. He dumped the Ninja 250 on the last drill. Luckily, neither of them passed.

You sound like you'll do fine on an SV, it was my first bike. Just be careful with it and you'll grow into it great. It can really do just about anything you want and the longer you have it I think the more you'll enjoy what it's capable of.

Keep practicing and you'll soon get good enough to ride with one hand and wave at Mr. No Stop and Clutchy stalled out in traffic.
 

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The SV is a great beginner bike, coming from me a beginner myself...

I had no experience on bikes, never rode any kind of them. couple of weeks after taking the MSF I bought a used SV as my first bike, and I love it. I haven't had any problems, it's great for commuting (80% I use the bike for) and has enough power.

Be really careful on the first ride, it is different than a 250cc...more weight, more power and higher sitting position.

You should do just fine. I recommend this bike. My brother just finished his MSF yesterday, I'm in trying to convinced him to buy a SV aswell.
 

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Lifer
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Hah! Yeah, there's a decent parking lot a few blocks from my house. Yesterday I was in a used sporting goods store and saw a huge bag of tennis balls and thought "Hey, I can cut those in half to use as cones for a practice course."

I'm guessing at highway speeds the SV will be just as maneuverable as most bikes on the road, but how much more difficult will low-speed drills be? How much harder on the SV is it to make that U-turn without putting a foot down?
Depends on the size of space we're talking about turning around in. The MSF gives you 24' which is plenty. I can't full lock my bike thanks to SM1 handlebars smashing my fingers but I've tried lol. Remember: Look through the turn. Look through the turn. You go where you look. You go where you look. (ah, emphasis lol)

On the highway, if you've never been on a bike on the highway, get ready for the experience of a lifetime. There's no way to describe how the wind will hit you from EVERYWHERE. Not just in front of you in some smooth wind tunnel type manner lol. It's fun :D
 

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MSF course is a lot of fun and gives you an idea of where you are among other riders. We had a lady that could not shift past 1st gear, than again them bikes are very crude and old, I had a fun time myself finding neutral, anyways, my first bike was a Ninja 250 than a Ninja 600 as I passed the 250 to my wife to learn on and now a SV650 to be honest the Ninja 250 is a good around town bike but not on the HWY as I was getting blown all over the road at higher speed, the Ninja 600 was not as comfortable on long rides but got spoiled with how smooth the ride was, the slipper clutch so no more locking up rear tire when downshifted, and excellent handling even in high wind. After riding the SV650 I really enjoyed it except for the suspension but for daily commuting it is the perfect bike.
 

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On the highway, if you've never been on a bike on the highway, get ready for the experience of a lifetime. There's no way to describe how the wind will hit you from EVERYWHERE. Not just in front of you in some smooth wind tunnel type manner lol. It's fun :D
I took getting on the freeway slowly, First just for a few exits, then across town, now I'm ready to go on an hour slab ride tomorrow.

We had a lady that could not shift past 1st gear, than again them bikes are very crude and old, I had a fun time myself finding neutral,
My bike at msf wouldn't go into N unless it was off, or revved to 2.5k (found that out second day)
 

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The SV650 is a great bike for beginners, I'm sure you will do great as long as you take it easy on the throttle until you get used to the torque. I have been riding for a year and put maybe 4k on my 07 SV which I purchased used. You sound like your a smart guy and Im sure that you will ride smart and fall in love with the bike like so many of us have!!
 

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If your in Albuquerque hit me up. I got a 06 svs that I might be willing to let go(sell) to someone who wants to ride one. PM me if interested.

Shuluke
 

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On the SV as a first bike, it's weird... I'm not sure I'd heartily recommend it, but I'm glad that's what I did. Basically, I crapped myself for a week and nearly laid it down a few times while adjusting to things MSF couldn't prepare me for (twitchy throttle, weight, high position, etc.). However, I made it out unscathed so I'm very glad I don't have to sell a Ninja and get used to a new bike this season. :)

Shoei RF-1000: I'm still a n00b by all accounts, and it's the only helmet I've ever owned, but I love it.
 
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