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motorbike newbie reflections


DickWY
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Hi all,


So I've gone past the 1000km mark on my '22 T7. I bought it a month ago and received my motorbike licence a month before that. I had no prior motorbike experience save from driving 150cc scooters in Asia. I would like to give some reflections or thoughts to those who are in a similar situation where they're buying a T7 as their first ever bike and are looking for as much information online as possible (instead the myriad of comparisons and modification options etc.). Also simply about the experience of riding any motorbike for that matter. For seasoned riders some or most of these will be very obvious. Experienced riders, please feel free to add things that you wish someone would have told you before riding. That would be much appreciated. Here are a few of my points (and I will add stuff along the way). Not in order of importance.

 

- Wind noise in the helmet is so damn loud. 30 minutes of highway speeds and your ears will start ringing. I have a HJC I70, perhaps a different helmet would've been better? I'm also going to add a windscreen adjuster. But regardless, it's still something I didn't think could be so loud, at all. 

 

- I dropped the bike and fell while getting gas after riding on the highway for a longer time (at night). I was all cramped up from noob posture and riding straight for such a long time and it's really advised to shake loose your arms and legs when you leave the highway.

 

- You will drop the bike (that I knew), but picking the T7 back up is a pain in the ass! Even as a moderately athletic built 28 year old. My ankle was stuck in previously mentioned gas station fall and 2 people had to help me getting it up again (even with very little gas in the tank). Without them I would've not been able to get it up, period. The other times the bike was not in a good position to pick it up in the advised way so I messed up my lower back for a few days. I'm going to pick up weightlifting just for this.

 

- Without prior off-road experience the T7 is not at all an ideal bike to learn with. Due to its size, weight and price I lack the confidence to throw this thing around. So perhaps the T7 is best of both worlds or neither fish nor fowl depending completely on your prior off-roading experience. 

 

- You'll have a strong desire to spend plenty of money to modify and personalise the bike. The market for 3rd party mods is huge and OEM stuff is not always good.

 

- Tyres! I have only ridden with the stock ones, but already I've experienced their limitations in some situations. 10m into the mud and I went down. I can't say how different it feels, but be aware that their importance should not be understated! Especially if your lack of experience can't compensate for it.

 

- Safety gear! Very necessary, very expensive. Another chunk of your budget you allocate to something else than the bike itself. The shoes already saved me from breaking my toe twice and ankle once.

 

- It's not because you know how to ride a scooter, you know how to ride the T7. My confidence with my riding skills had to be re-adjusted big time and I don't feel that it gave an advantage, perhaps the opposite. 

 

- 100% of the people who don't ride will mention that they knew someone who had an accident. It's good to be remembered about the dangers, but usually the first thing people will respond to you motorbiking is with a story about death or paralysis.

 

- There is a thing like break-in with a new bike and you'll probably worry about it for the first 1000kms. 

 

That's it for now. I realise that a lot of these are negatives rather than positives, but I romanticised riding a motorbike tremendously. Is it worth it? HELL YES! But to correctly set expectations I'd say to my fellow newbies: it ain't all sunshine and rainbows!


Ride safe!

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For a newbie, you have things pretty well figured out.

As far as wind noise, you could spend $37,000 on crap that won't do much more than diddley, or $20 on ear plugs (Try a few different styles to find one that fit decent).

Protect your hearing, ask any old rider!

 

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We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe

~Oliver Wendell Holmes~

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Newbie learning curve is steep and its all worth it at the end of the day! Possibly taking on the T7 as a the first bike does seem overwhelming but give yourself some time with it and you will have no regrets!

 

With the wind noise, ear plugs are the way to go! Pinlocks are a good way to go if you are wearing them for the first time. Will save you the hearing loss associated with not wearing any over the years! Over the years I have tried a varied number of brands and finally settled on custom made ones to fit my ear well with almost no discomfort with hours under the helmet.

 

Picking up the bike when lying on its side is challenge given its profile that lays it almost flat! Workout the core muscles and if you devise an easy way to pick up, do share 😄

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  • Another vote for getting earplugs. Hearing damage is usually permanent, so you really don't want to be dealing with that stuff down the line. Plus, noise fatigue is a thing. Get some good plugs and marvel at how less tired you are after a long ride.
  • Regarding picking up the bike, I've found that the handlebar method works the best for me. For reference, I'm only 5'5 tall and around 63kg, so I'm in no way a big guy, and the only strength training I've had over the past couple of years are just simple body weight exercises that I do whenever I feel like it.
  • While the T7 most definitely isn't the ideal bike to learn off-roading on, it can still be done. A big part is simply accepting that you will drop the bike, and hopefully you get good at picking it back up as well. I'm actually in a similar situation to you, as I upgraded from my first bike which was a 150cc naked to a T7 after 5 years. And in the one year I've owned this bike I've already managed to drop it in the middle of a river crossing and put it through its paces on a muddy trail with a fairly steep hill climb. Sure it was scary as hell and I was basically running on sheer baseless confidence, but I figured that you really just have to take that challenge sometimes, and I think the T7 is a reliable enough partner in most situations.

And finally, one piece of advice: Prepare yourself for the bunch of old dudes that will inevitably get attracted by your bike, and their rambling about "how they had this cool motorcycle back in the day". And while you're at it, throw away the illusion that cool motorcycles will attract hot women to you. They won't. It's just gonna be just one old dude after the other. Sometimes they do have genuinely cool stories though.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the tips y'all! I did get some custom earplugs a year or 3 back since I like going to concerts. How would one use a system like Cardo with earplugs and that much wind noise? Do you just blast the volume or would it we better to install it on a more sophisticated helmet? I don't have an intercom set yet, but would be great to hear some tunes on the road while commuting. 

 

Also, I have the reflex to put my foot down when I lose control over the bike at low speed. The bike just falls on my heel and the toes get hyperflexed. It messed up my big toejoint when it happened again, not having recovered from the first fall a few days before. Any videos available on how to fall with a bike? 😬 Or are the TCX Blend 2 boots that I have subpar in comparison with a more MX/ADV oriented boot? 


Cheers!

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@DickWY The use of earplugs with a communication system normally isn't a problem,  depending on your particular helmet, windscreen configuration,  etc.  I use foam earplugs with a Sena 30K system and have a spoiler on my windscreen to help with buffering. Even with my poor hearing from 25 years as a commercial helicopter pilot, I can still get enough volume to communicate with my fellow riders and hear music when desired.

 

Regarding boot stiffness, MX boots will be the best protection at the expense of flexibility.  ADV boots are a compromise of the MX boot protection in exchange for better flexibility.   I'm not familiar with TCX boots, but it's tough to buy boots online, my preference is to try them on and walk a bit to check out the suitability for my use, but everyone has different requirements.  

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"Men do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" Oliver Wendell Holmes - Mods - HDB handguards, Camel-ADV Gut guard, 1 finger clutch, The Fix pedal & Rally pipe, RR side/tail rack, RR 90nm spring & Headlight guard, Rally seat, OEM heated grips- stablemate Beta 520RS

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On 11/27/2022 at 2:52 PM, Hibobb said:

For a newbie, you have things pretty well figured out.

As far as wind noise, you could spend $37,000 on crap that won't do much more than diddley, or $20 on ear plugs (Try a few different styles to find one that fit decent).

Protect your hearing, ask any old rider!

 

WHAT??

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I'm in the same club Dick - first timer, got her in March and have now done around 7000 km. Zero motorcycle experience before - I actually think that the T7 is a great beginner bike, at least if you're not 18 and/or short in height.

I even took my riding lessons and test on her.

 

The engine is very well-mannered and forgiving, still offers enough power and torque for fun on the streets.

I also found the handlebar method to work best for me when picking her up (4-5 times or so), I'm 187cm.

I was crazy enough to join a beginner enduro training (turned out my bike was the biggest BY FAR in the whole crowd) - this helped my offroad and onroad riding a lot, as well as riding with some experienced guys and learning a lot from them.

 

I always wear ear plugs with my Cardo system - some even say it sounds better with plugs.

But at my height wind noise/buffeting mostly originates from the windscreen (!).

When standing up on the highway, the noise got MUCH lower.

So I bought a SHORT windscreen, it's much better now (although not perfect). You might choose the opposite direction, but I'm really happy with this solution.

 

Ride safe buddy, hope we'll meet some time!

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11 hours ago, DickWY said:

Thanks for the tips y'all! I did get some custom earplugs a year or 3 back since I like going to concerts. How would one use a system like Cardo with earplugs and that much wind noise? Do you just blast the volume or would it we better to install it on a more sophisticated helmet? I don't have an intercom set yet, but would be great to hear some tunes on the road while commuting. 

 

Also, I have the reflex to put my foot down when I lose control over the bike at low speed. The bike just falls on my heel and the toes get hyperflexed. It messed up my big toejoint when it happened again, not having recovered from the first fall a few days before. Any videos available on how to fall with a bike? 😬 Or are the TCX Blend 2 boots that I have subpar in comparison with a more MX/ADV oriented boot? 


Cheers!

 

If I recall it correctly, helmet comm units like Cardo and Sena are actually designed to be used with earplugs, they're actually a bit too loud without them in my opinion.

As for the boots, MX boots would definitely be stiffer at the sole, though they're not really comfortable if you have to walk in them. Although, maybe the problem lies more with how you handle dropping the bike? Are you trying to catch it all the way down? Assuming this is a zero to low-speed fall, I've dropped mine enough that I have developed this sense of when the bike is past the point of no return, and at that point I just let it go and move out of the way. I've eaten dirt this way but have never gotten my legs and/or feet caught under the bike.

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I wouldn't recommend the T7 to a newbie rider. Cut your teeth on something smaller and lower to begin with, like a CB500(F or X), then graduate to something taller and more powerful like a T7. As to noise, there are plenty of naked bikes far noisier than the T7. A decent helmet and well fitting ear plugs should sort it. Or, like me, you could accept gradual hearing loss. (Eh, what's that?)

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