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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I’m mike I’m GA. Just started riding after taking a class and then buying a new HD 1200. Was doing good rolling around neighborhood last few weeks so I decided I’d venture out. I didn’t get too far. Just out of the neighborhood I stopped at a stop sign and saw a friend. I was stopped in first gear and waved with my clutch hand at him. Bike jumped forward and I kinda panicked and ran right into a parked car. Slight damage to car but none to bike or myself. It did fall onto car so didn’t quite hit the ground. Pride is hurt and I was very embarrassed. First of all no more waving! Problem is now I’m nervous to venture out and I’m not sure how I should have handled situation or what exactly I did wrong. Figured I’d start here and take my punishment. Lol
 

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American Legion Rider
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WELCOME ABOARD, and...



Normally just a few more posts(count of 3) and the rest of the site
will open to you. This is the sites spambot control. Unfortunately it
is needed today. But you have to make 15 posts before you can post
pictures. Right or wrong it's considered a privilege to be able to post
pictures. Unless you use Tapatalk which somehow gets around
that restriction.

We are friendly site here. Well, most of us:grin:

Glad you are okay. It could have been much worse than pride injured. It's the panic part that gets to new riders. There's a discipline you gain by experience but why we suggest smaller sized engines so if you do panic you might not cause major problems you can't easily get over. Just glad it went as well as it could in your case.:thumbsup:
 
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Yep. Hate to pile on, but this is why new riders do well to start on smaller machines. My spouse's first bike is a BMW G310R, and you practically have to push with your feet to get it moving without a stall. If you let go the clutch at a stop the engine simply dies. The bike doesn't even shudder in the stall. It is discernable primarily because a small purring noise in the background disappears. This is not a criticism of the bike, its just a good beginner bike because it won't get you in trouble.

That said, this lesson looks to be well learned. This was a totally normal beginner mistake. Outside of motorcycling, your left hand is not normally used to decouple an engine from wheels. This is unlikely to happen twice!

On the upside, for your situation compared to ours, it has been a year with her smaller bike and my spouse would really like a bigger bike now. We don't have the spare dosh lying about to buy one. She is stuck with 34hp and no highways or long rides for the time being. Your 1200 Sportster is a powerful and versatile machine that will grow with your skills, do anything you need it to do, and serve you well for years to come.
 

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+1 for recommending a smaller bike as a 1rst bike.

+1 for take the machine out of gear while stopped at traffic lights. Not so much for a "hesitate stop" at a stop sign, but DEFINITELY before releasing the clutch.

It's a result a lot like you experienced that gave tank mount shifters the name "suicide" As designed they were supposed to be bistable - stomp one way active and the other way released, but were quickly modified to be spring loaded active and the rider would have to keep their foot on the pedal at stops. A sudden crosswind, an instinctive attempt to put a stabilizing foot down, and off you went into cross traffic.

It's not good for the clutch to idle with the machine in gear but the clutch pulled in, but I do it, mainly when anticipating a quick exit from a traffic light where I see an advantage to getting ahead of the pack. In this case, keeping your brake hand in the game will stall the engine and prevent most of the embarrassment should something bad happen. Clutch cables do fail.

Rule of thumb: Waving is for experienced riders, Nodding and smiling is for everybody.
 

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Problem is now I’m nervous to venture out and I’m not sure how I should have handled situation or what exactly I did wrong. Figured I’d start here and take my punishment. Lol
Candidly I don't see anything wrong with a Sporty for a first bike -- a little more top-heavy than some, but mostly torque and relatively easy to ride... but what you stumbled into is something we all have to wrestle with -- the controls on a bike aren't the same as the vehicles we drive the rest of the time and many riders try to be friendly to other riders and return a wave or initiate one, or perform some other task... As a flight reviewer chided me years ago when I was trying to change frequency on final approach; "First, fly the plane..." or in our case; "first ride the bike..." and that means any time you are on it whether in motion or not. I dumped my new bike (some years ago) adjusting the mirror while I was riding in traffic -- it's good to have a properly adjusted mirror, but it is better to keep the bike upright and not banging upside-down over someones lawn...

Other riders will occasionally wave as I'm pulling away from a light -- at that time I'm busy, starting or shifting -- I'll nod, and if they are experienced they understand, if not -- well, I'll wave next time. It's easy to get trapped trying to return a friendly gesture right when something else needs your full attention...

Ride safe... (do as I say, not as I do... :surprise: )
 

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+1 on the "nod when you're busy" idea. I wave when I can, and nod when I can't wave.

I would also recommend that you find a place with a small hill and no traffic, and practice coming to a stop on the hill, both going uphill and down. You will encounter this at intersections if you ride long enough and you need to learn how to coordinate both feet and both hands to work all the controls at the right time. In fact, you should practice this on the level until you're comfortable with it, then find a hill to master it.

If I'm going to be sitting at the intersection for a relatively long time I'll put the bike in neutral; this requires left hand holding the clutch and left foot working the shifter which means right foot on the ground which means right hand on the brake. When it comes time to take off I need to be holding my position with the rear brake so that I can use my right hand for the throttle and not worry about the front brake. A little bit of throttle, ease off the clutch until it's in the friction zone, then let off the rear brake and move ahead. You get the idea.
 

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+2 or 3 on the nod or some might call it the snob look with nose in the air. But it works and you can do it at a stop or in motion. Other riders understand you might be doing something else. But like was said, your first task is to control the bike. Later, much later, you can wave if you want. But there are days I do more snob nods than waves. It just happens.
 
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Nightfly
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+1 on the "nod when you're busy" idea. I wave when I can, and nod when I can't wave.

I would also recommend that you find a place with a small hill and no traffic, and practice coming to a stop on the hill, both going uphill and down. You will encounter this at intersections if you ride long enough and you need to learn how to coordinate both feet and both hands to work all the controls at the right time. In fact, you should practice this on the level until you're comfortable with it, then find a hill to master it.

If I'm going to be sitting at the intersection for a relatively long time I'll put the bike in neutral; this requires left hand holding the clutch and left foot working the shifter which means right foot on the ground which means right hand on the brake. When it comes time to take off I need to be holding my position with the rear brake so that I can use my right hand for the throttle and not worry about the front brake. A little bit of throttle, ease off the clutch until it's in the friction zone, then let off the rear brake and move ahead. You get the idea.
Sounds much more confusing when written out, but actually just takes a little coordination getting everything in proper synchronization of hands and feet. It really isn't so difficult, a little practice and off you go..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone. I appreciate all the encouragement and yep I learned a lesson. I just got to hop on again. I do kinda wish I bought a smaller bike. Those Harley guys sure can sell but in the end it was my decision. I’ll be taking it slow for a while. Thanks again!
 

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I'm from the camp that says keep the bike in 1st gear at traffic lights so that if someone behind you doesn't stop, you can get out of the way. If there's cross traffic, make it a hard right and stay against the curb or shoulder. Getting hit from behind, means a bad day. If you go into neutral and need to move, it will probably take longer than you have.

I'll only go into neutral and release the clutch, after several cars have built up behind me. Lucky for me, I'm in CA so often I can filter forward, away from the last vehicle at a light. But sometimes I get stuck out in the cold, if there's not enough room between cars.
 

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Lesson learned now move on and count it as experience.

The 1200 Sportster is a great bike and nothing to be intimidated by. In a few rides you will have it mastered and glad that you didn't buy some little, used piece of junk to learn on.

Harley will give you what you paid for the new Sporty in trade for a BIG TWIN, within certain time and mileage/ condition restrictions.

Welcome to the forum from:

Sam in SW Missouri:)
 

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Nightfly
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I agree completely Sam. I ride a 1200 Sportster, well, now a 1250, and I have never regretted buying it. Since I've recovered from the theft of the bike, I've put a lot of money into it but size and power wise, I love it. But then I do not do long rides so that is a plus, for me anyway. He will like the Sportster as he gets more time in the saddle..
 
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