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Lead Astronaut
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I was reading a post from someone that was mentioning they saw a newbie rider at an intersection by how they accelerated when the light went green. I guess that made me curious, what are the typical signs you experienced riders out there see that make it obvious someone is a new rider? Can be anything such as common mistakes, or maybe just telltale signs like rough upshifting and such.

Also, I had a riding question that I don't think was really covered in my riding course... do you typically put the bike in N at a stop light or do you keep it in first and the clutch in? I did see someone mention they put it in neutral because it's hard on the hands to keep the clutch in all the time, but the clutch lever is so easy on my vstar that I have no issues with this. The only time I will go in to N at an intersection is if I just missed the light and I know it's going to be a long one. But I am wondering if there is a safety side of it... keep it in N so if you get rear ended or tapped or something, you don't accidentally let go of the clutch and throw yourself further in to the intersection.

Thanks :)
Dan
 

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As to newbie rider I am not the one to ask, as to neutral, I keep it in gear so if I need to move quickly I can. Also for some reason my bike does not like neutral. :)
 

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An experienced rider just looks more relaxed...l equate it to the brand new footballer who scores his first touchdown and goes ape**** dancing all over the place, while the cagey veteran just hands the ball to the ref because he has been there a hundred times before.

As for shifting into neutral, l always do. I think it is good to come back to home base, if l am in neutral then l know for sure what gear l am in, and it gives me a chance to take my hands off the bars.
 

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A new rider can often be spotted by the lack of smoothness during stops and starts. Dragging the feet or holding them out like outriggers on starts is a sure giveaway.

As a general rule, it's best to go into 1st gear coming to a stop and remain in 1st gear at a stop. If you have to move quickly, you are better able to.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Dodsfall said:
Dragging the feet or holding them out like outriggers on starts is a sure giveaway.
That's the big one. Duck walking too but I've seen some experienced riders do that as well so that's not a complete give away. I wouldn't call them good riders though either that do that. Outriggers though is generally a newbie. Going way slower than the traffic too.
 

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..... Duck walking too but I've seen some experienced riders do that as well so that's not a complete give away.....
I confess to doing that sometimes. If one has been on the bike for awhile, it is nice to stretch the knees and get some movement. Besides, if you can hit a good rhythm, it's kind'a funky ;)
 

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Cornering correctly is also a good indicator of riding experience. Although there are many that have ridden for years that can't corner smoothly.
 

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Newbie

A newbie might be jerky with the throttle, and shifting. Also might wander when leaving from a stop. The right hand elbow gets jerky, rather than twisting the throttle. And the head wanders, looking for mirrors to look at themselves. Actually a lot of guys do look sideways when they shift. It is part of the near orgasmic experience. Speaking of which, squirrels, what they now call squids, have a direct linkage between their throttle hand and their sex parts. Probably why they invented diaphragm carbs, to help eliminate the jerkyness of squirrels.
Later on the throttle hand gets reconnected to the brain, and things go much smoother.

I put my bike in neutral. Get sick of holding in the clutch at long lights. Easy enough to pull in the clutch and clunk it in gear when needed.
Of course some twit decided the shifter has to go on the left hand side.
Left foot down, was much easier with the shifter on the RHS.
And I could care less what some riding instructor has to say about the subject.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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re: stop light. initially I am in gear (pulling on clutch) until I'm sure there is no chance of a rear end collision. after that, if I am protected (stationary car behind me) ... sure I will pop it into neutral.

re: Newbies. many signs.
yes, early Newbie's will have some problems with clutch changes, how smoothly they do the controls, etc.
later on, people who are still "newbie's" are not doing a good enough job of reading the traffic, are over-confident about their stopping ability, are riding at EXCESSIVE speeds, in California are doing lane splitting at EXCESSIVE speeds (really dumb), are using riding habits that look like they are driving a car (instead of riding a bike), are not wearing enough protective gear (Arghhh!), are carrying their girlfriend on the back of their bike with NO protective gear for her except a helmet (AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!), or just don't quite look like "they've got it all together". It really takes quite a while to pull everything together, get all of your riding skills, observation skills (traffic), and confidence to a high level. experienced riders can spot it.

you just gotta keep workin' this stuff, and try to get up the learning curve while staying in one piece. one way ... do a LOT of riding with very experienced people - helps tremendously. another good way ... choose a winding road (lots of "twisties") and go ride it repetitvely one weekend. many, many curves. That will help you to get all of your bike controls, braking, throttle control, entries to turns, lean angles, exits from turns, ... fully adjusted to where they are working smoothly. No NEED to ride those curves fast. Just make everything smooth :)

good luck,
dT
 

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Troublemaker
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Doing Flinstone stops to keep from hitting the car in front of them at a stop. Missing the stopped car and hitting the curb and falling over into the lawn. Not having the bike in gear when taking off from a stop. High revs when they do take off. Killing the bike a couple times when taking off. Feet getting stuck on the pegs when stopping. Helmet on backwards. Turning into oncoming traffic from a stop. Wanting to turn one direction from a stop but the bike wants to go the other, so they go with the bike.

I always leave the bike in 1st when coming to a stop, neutral is for parking and then starting the bike on a flat surface.
 

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I'll leave the bike in first most times, but if I'm at a stop light, especially if I'm waiting for a turn arrow, AND someone is already stopped behind me, I'll often kick it into neutral so I can straighten my back and give my hands a bit of a rest from holding the clutch levers in.
 

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I'm riding like a noob right now, just not totally relaxed, and not riding a good line through the corners. I'm fine with stopping and starting but I'm not yet trusting my tires to hold the pavement in a tight turn. I'm just not feeling like part of the machine right now, its coming back, but not as fast as I expected.
 

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Yeah I plan on practicing all winter, weather permitting. Just riding around the neighbor hood helps with slow speed handling, and there are several low usage roads near my house for higher speed turn practice, very little traffic mid day.
 

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Feet not on pegs at 3 MPH or more is a dead give away. As I pull away from a light my feet hit the floorboards before the clutch is all the way out. Another tell is lots of unstable movement as the bike comes to a stop. When it comes to chicken strips, I am sure I have them and I don't care. I ride my own ride and never want to push the limits. I am well aware that my bike is capable of far more than I am comfortable doing.
 

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These are all good give aways. Also leaving the blinker on forever on older bikes. ;)
I stay in neutral at stops. Mostly for quick getaways in case someone in a vehicle decides to do something stupid.
 
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