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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so we thought we'd get share some advice on safe riding.

Motorcyclists know how much skill is required in riding. You have to be aware of your bike, the road, the traffic around you, and most importantly, yourself, when you get behind the handlebars.

But even the safest, most experienced riders can still make mistakes. That’s why we’re presenting a series of articles on motorcycle safety, because you can never be too safe.

Rider Education, Injuries and Fatalities
Time for a reality check
Whether you have decades of experience or are a newbie, it pays to realistically size up this activity called "riding a motorcycle," and to look at yourself as a lifelong learner.
Insurance Basics
How much coverage do you need?
Are you and your motorcycle insured well enough to satisfy your state's legal guidelines, as well as your own risk tolerance? You owe it to yourself and those who care about you to be sure you are up to date.
The Truth about Drinking and Riding
Some sobering statistics on a dangerous problem
While no one will publicly declare alcohol consumption and motorcycling are OK, there remain definite problems in a culture offering mixed messages.


More: Rider Safety articles on Motorcycle.com
 

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At least 70 percent of your braking is done with the front brake. Under severe conditions, this can be over 90 percent. Using the front and rear brakes together to near the point of lock-up is a skill every rider needs to know.
My front brake lever is insanely hard to pull (new bike) and incredibly sensitive, and the previous owner of it said I should use the rear brake (and the front only in dare need). Was he wrong? I have trouble using the rear break on hills and roars, I just...roll backwards because gravity pulls be back away from that brake, or the bike (GL1100, heavy...to me) wants to fall in on itself and tip over. So the front should instead be used? I'm assuming that the break is normal but should it need modification then?
 

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Yes He Was Wrong...

Well to the forum and yes...

he
was
wrong

the front brake is major in stopping a bike quick. though i am still new compared to some of the old dogs and doggies...one of the items i read up on and study hard was braking and braking techniques. the front brake on my gl1100 is a life saver. though the brakes on front and back work great...either one by itself isn't terribly impressive. I use ALOT of front brake in stopping. It does good on its own but add a little rear brake and she comes to a stop quick. Please get comfortable with using your front brake...if there is something wrong with it park it till you fix it...

safe riding...

j
 

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Well just barely pulling the front break pulls it to a hault, too quickly. My back break can stop me at 30 feet from 25 mph so I'm happy with that. Besides, I ride in neutral some when stopping and when going down hills, readying for turns etc. Not to save gas but its easier on me.
 

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Well just barely pulling the front break pulls it to a hault, too quickly. My back break can stop me at 30 feet from 25 mph so I'm happy with that. Besides, I ride in neutral some when stopping and when going down hills, readying for turns etc. Not to save gas but its easier on me.
Yuji: Take some serious practice time to get used to the braking system. Remember it is a linked system so each control operates the front and rear brakes, and are meant to be used in conjunction. On the 1800 the front lever activates two pistons (outer rh disc rotor) and one on the left (center piston ) disc, as well as the outer two pistons on the rear disc. The foot pedal activates the inner rh piston and outer 2 lh pistons on the front, and the 2 outer left on the rear. This entire system has been present on GLs since '84 in one way or another (84's if my memory serves linked one front and the rear disc with the pedal and the other disc on the front was the hand brake). The new system is just more advanced and much more efficient.
:eek:Others may disagree with me, but I would never EVER put the bike in neutral while stopping. If you had to make a sudden lane change or accelerate to avoid a rearender bump you'd be hooped big time. Wings are large but Oscar and Minnie Grope in their cages often don't see us.
 

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Neutral Coasting == Bad?

:confused: Why would you never neutral it? I coast about maybe eh 20 feet from the line. :/ I've been practicing a lot using both brakes simultaneously. I had a case of over-gripping the front brake now noticing. I use both now without thinking. :)
 

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Yuji: It's just a safety thing. Especially in traffic when you never can tell what the cagers (cars etc. since you are new to this) are going to do. You have to expect that: a) they don't see you; b) they don't care about you; c) they are a meance to you; d) you need to rely on only yourself and your skills and reflexes to stay alive. Having your bike in neutral when coming to a stop (intersection) in traffic is sort of like dangling a rabbit in front of a mountain lion... doggone dangerous! You don't want to be the rabbit believe me. Proper braking technique is essential for survival on the street, but so is proper use of the go control. Sometimes the only way out of a potentially risky situation is to hit the go button hard and fast. A bike in neutral leaves you without that line of defense, and the time it takes to squeeze the clutch, step down on the shift lever and accelerate to safety could be too long. We lose in the size arena to all the autos out there so all we have is our perfomance advantage; don't take the advantage away by taking your bike out of gear. A long time rider I met many years back when I was a newbie says it all: "ride like all the others are crazy and out to kill you".
 

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I don't mean in neutral gear, I hold the clutch in. I know what cagers are... I know they don't care to see me at all, figured that out on the first ride. I ride like that any way, figured it a rabbit chase to begin with I did. Fact of when on the fourth of July a routine traffic stop, cop let me out first before cars on that chance I bet. :)
 

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Good on you Yuji! I wasn't trying to talk down to you, it's just when you get to be my age you always have to assume that the young folks still have lots of learning to do. One thing to prepare yourself for is the reaction of older 'Wingers' when they see you. I was 26 when I bought my first Wing. While visiting my folks in Arizona, I just had to visit a couple of the specialty shops (bling hunting naturally) and see the GWRRA headquarters. First question I was asked "aren't you a bit young to be riding a Glodwing son?" As it turned out, one gentleman who thought I was so young turned out to be a much less experienced rider than I was. Go figure.
 

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Oh its okay, you didn't sound talking down. ^.^ I've only been riding a few months but I've put 1,500 miles on it already. ^.^ Its good though to be tough on the young riders, teaches experience to those who rightly deserve to be there, irritates those that don't deserve to be (in which case they fail/wreck/get killed). :eek: Little corny understanding at first but elders of any have good habits (of course looking political we can see bad habits as well). So there came in my queue as a 'youngin' to draw my own line out for understandings to make sure. :) Thank you. I have a question though while on this post, I have an original (99%) but the dummy tank lock doesn't match engine key (not original lock). Where can I get a lock made for the dummy tank that'll match my engine? I like the idea of "one key to rule it all". >.>
 

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If you are lucky, you can find a Honda dealer that can get the number off the barrel of your ignition, or there could be a number engraved on the upper shank of the ignition key just below the insignia. Then if all goes well they can get you a new lock from Honda from that code number. Not sure what year your bike is but that might work. Getting a locksmith to match a lock to your ignition key might be all but impossible I'm afraid.
 

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Motorcycle Awearness Week

Well it maybe Motorcycle awearness week in May for those of you who live in the northen part of the world but for us who live in the soutnern part it is the last week in October or the weekend the Pink Ribbion Ride is on..
 

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im going to buy a goldwing in the very near future, i never rode before but im taking a riding coarse, any sugest.
Jameek: Glad you've decided to start riding and kudo's for taking the course. However, a Goldwing is a very large motorcycle for a newbie. I know there are riders out there who bought Wings as a first bike and never had a problem. Remember, doing the course on a small dual purpose bike and riding the mean streets on a full dresser is a whole different ball game. Go ahead and get your Wing, but I would suggest that you cut your teeth on something smaller and more easily managed so you can earn your road stripes without coming to blows with Oscar and Minnie Grope in their belchfire cage. :eek:
 

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sounds scary

Yuji, I must agree with Budoka... what you've described sounds very scary and unsafe. I think you need to find out if your front brake lever has a problem... maybe let another GW owner ride and test it. If there's a problem get it fixed... end of story. If there is no problem, if he says the stiffness is typical, maybe your hand is too small or you need to workout a little. Seriously, not trying to be disrespectful... just think safety first.
 

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Greetings Yuji1 you'll find some good riding tips here as well as info about your ride.
The riders on this site with "Whiskers" (thats an old truckers saying) won't steer you wrong and they are worth listening too when it comes to safety. I use my gears not only to "go" but as part of braking as well (Compression Braking) along with the actual braking system,I'm talking about coming to an actual stop or slowing to a crawl in traffic, not just touching the brake at hwy speeds on a corner or whatever.
The trick is to know your gears and not overrev the engine when engine braking.Its a good habit to develop because it puts you in the right gear (no lugging the engine which is hard on it) and it saves brake disks and pad wear.I never coast in neutral even with the clutch,I don't think its a very wise thing to do. I agree with Budoka ,age and experience are two different things.Some relatively young riders have grown up on MC's and are very experienced in a few short years.Then there's old guys like me who've been riding for more years than...well..the average rider,over a life time, but you know what "I'm still learning" and thats a good attitude to have :)

-Robert-
 

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I have always been told the largest bike a newbee should be on is a 750. When I took up riding 10 years ago it was on a 1980 CB 750. At that time I thought it was one heck of a big bike. After I started on a 1979 GL1000 GW after a few months I took the 750 for a spin before I sold it, and wow did it feel small. I am glad I rode it for a couple of years before I graduated to a Wing.
 

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Hi Yuji1, just to add to budoka's comments. I personally find a good part of the fun of biking is gearing up and down. It is a very good habit to gear down approaching curves, stops, and just plain slowing down in traffic. The way you get use to riding is the way it becomes second nature when you need it in an emergency situation. I suggest you take a motorcycle training course and they will teach you techniques for breaking and gearing down, and then you should practice them in an empty parking lot. This might save your butt one day.
 
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