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I had a 3hp mini-bike when I was young but never a motorcycle. I was thinking and laughing as I was recalling my first riding experiences. My first bike was the 1993 TW200 which I got in 1995. I figured the dirt is softer than concrete. I learned riding the old way not a MSF course. First time out following trails in the field I couldn't turn sharp enough and kept riding off into the bushes with a few dumps. I went back to check the DPS handbook and read about countersteering. I tried that at very slow speeds and it worked. I went back and now stayed on the trails. I jumped some small hills and my legs got wore out. Now I see why motorcycle riding is a sport. I passed my driving test and all some time later (months). First experiences on the street, lift a hand and the bike wobbles and moves slightly another direction (learning to balance) I never had this problem on a bicycle. Also was ohhhh my neck is so tired with that heavy helmet fighting the wind, (I had the dirt bike style helmet with a bill) great for high speed areodynamics, not, lesson learned. I think having the MSF courses now are saving a lot of pain and medical bills for new riders.
Does anyone else have similar riding experiences from when they first began riding?
 

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When I was 10 my brother bought a new 1964 Honda 50. One day he let me ride it in the high school parking lot. I rode around the lot and then decided to whip in by the tennis courts. I didn't see the chain stretched across the driveway. The chain hit the bike just below the headlight. Fortunately it was only attached with wire at one end and it broke loose. I can't remember if I crashed or not. I wasn't hurt and only a little damage was done to the bike. I'm sure it was a long while before he let me ride it again.
 

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Rode Motorcycles in the 60s and 70s.... Road only. My last MC back then was a Honda 750-4. I sold it and quit riding. Living then in Anaheim was death wish riding a MC. Also starting a family I did not want to end up an lame..hahahaa.... About 7 years ago at 67 my youngest son told me I needed a get around MC... I started looking around. A bud of mine had a TW200 and other MC's. I loved the looks of the TW so I started looking around for one. In the mean time I got a little scooter like a Rucus but with a 150cc Gy motor, and started riding a bit. Decided to do the MSF here in Sacramento.. Best thing I ever did... Had no clue about steering hahaha although I have 1,000 of miles riding bikes. I drive my car and truck safely, no accidents ever and same with MC's. But I now know why we see guys on MC's crash on curvy roads... No clue about counter steering.
Jim
 

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Growing up I wasn't allowed a motorcycle. When my dad was in highschool he was backing out of a driveway over a blind hill when one of his best friends came over the hill on his motorcycle and hit the car. The kid didn't survive and my dad never really forgave himself. So, yeah, no bike for me. Rode the hell out of a Polaris though. As a boy, I tried moving a friend's dirtbike when we were fishing one day but instead sent it up a tree when I finally gave it enough throttle to stop killing the engine. Had to bend the shift lever back into place. Later I asked a cousin to show me how to ride. I did okay in the field but laid it down in the gravel later and so never tried again until I was 18.

It was then that I gave $1200 for an old TW200 on eBay, shipped in a crate from across the country. I drove my truck an hour down to the FedEx and loaded it up. Got it home and unloaded and the handlebars set back up from shipping right around dark. The bike had no battery so I just kicked it over and rode around the back roads here. It went incredibly smoothly until I pulled on the clutch at the top of a hill and the lights went out. No battery, and now no gas. I ate a little gravel at the peak of this very steep hill but fortunately didn't roll down it. Burned my leg on the pipe too. I pushed the bike a mile or two home and gassed it up only to go back out riding it. Later, one night I hit a patch of gravel coming home turning onto my road. I had neglected chain maintenance up to that point and so it slipped off when the bike fell. I stashed the in the weeds and strolled home in the dark on a newly fractured ankle. If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

I never took the MSF course but I'd be willing if I didn't keep blowing money on other stuff. I tell anybody interested that while I'm happy to show them the basics in my yard, they should really take the course if they're getting on the street. There's a lot of conflicting information I've encountered about how to ride safely so I just try to get every opinion possible and weigh them out. The internet has helped me refine my abilities a lot, seeing how everyone does it. But take it with a grain of salt, use your discretion, YMMV, etc.
 

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Back in '69 I was rolling down grassy hills in gravity powered carts exploring braking technology options other than tennis shoes or overturning. :p

Before invention of mountain bikes we took our banana seat equipped Shwinn StingRays on many a mountainous ride. One sustained descent had my coaster brakes overheat so much it set the grease smoldering at the rear hub. Fun stuff that sent me down the path to dirt bikes.
 

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My first ride was on a clapped-out beater 1960's open frame Yamaha YG-T Trailmaster 80 in a friends backyard. It was 1971, I was 12 years old and had just seen "On Any Sunday" for the first of 100's of times LOL. He asked me if I knew how to ride a motorcycle. I replied with the big lie and said "yeah". I was scared and super-hyped all at the same time. I kicked it to life, snapped it in gear, grabbed a big handful of throttle, and piled it in to a chain link fence! That was it, in that 30 seconds I had become a rider for life, I've never looked back...
 

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My first true riding experience was on my 1973 RD350. I bought it prior to having a license, so I had a friend test ride it for me and give me the okay, and then I would ride it around my parent's neighborhood until I had my license—in hindsight, that was a terrible first bike :) I still LOVE that bike (the sound and smell of 2-strokes will have my heart FOREVER), but because it's 40 years old and constantly needed love, I didn't get to do as much riding early on as I would've like, and then the biggest thing is that it's a maniac and you can accidentally go to one wheel in basically any gear. That bike can rip your head off, so was a lot for someone with no other experience. I survived though, hah... actually I have never even dropped that bike. It's currently in pieces in my garage unfortunately.

I had a few other bikes after that. Ninja250 for a min, then the SV650 as a daily commuter for almost 2yrs. Unfortunately that bike was totaled when a lady decided to not see me or yield and turned into me just as I was passing. Two years later (with no running bike or riding during that time) brought me to the TW and this forum. The TW is the shit. I love this little bike, as it's whole purpose if fun and enjoyment, and at slower speeds! This bike will be in my stable forever.

I still feel like a fairly new rider a lot of the time. We'll see how things progress. I hear my RD calling for me to revive it :)
 

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The RD350 was the only bike that would go as fast as you could twist the throttle (in its time)

Good memories ….
 

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The RD350 was the only bike that would go as fast as you could twist the throttle (in its time)

Good memories ….
Haha, for sure. When mine was running, it still did. Neck jerkin' ludicrous speed! Also, terrifying ... there isn't anything quite like that 2-stroke power band on an RD.
 

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Haha, for sure. When mine was running, it still did. Neck jerkin' ludicrous speed! Also, terrifying ... there isn't anything quite like that 2-stroke power band on an RD.
My first street bike was a new 1978 Yamaha RD400. It was stolen in SoCal during my 1st 2 weeks of ownership LOL. Insurance covered it. I was 18 years old and had to take out a 21% HFC loan to get it. No easy credit in those days...

Everything you said about the 350 goes for the 400...
 
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