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New Rider - Getting used to wind #151318 04/29/21 10:07 PM
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GtrNut2112 Offline OP
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Hey all! I know some parts of this forum are not as active as others, but this seemed to be the most appropriate for this thread.

I'm a new Rider, with the 2005 XT225 being my first motorcycle I ever moved under its own power. I've watched hours of educational riding videos, dirt and street. Youtube is a wonderful thing!

None of my preparation helped me understand the physical impact of wind. Wow! I'm not sure if anyone remembers that far back, but do you remember that first big semi truck that passed on the other side of a double lane road at 60MPH? WHOA! Or how about rolling through back roads in the thicket of a forest and coming around a straight path with wide open fields on either side with some strong wind? Blows you all around!!

That being said, I've put on almost 1k miles this season on the bike. I love it, it's so much fun. I welded a nice rack to hold bags and paniers for longer motocamping trips. I plan on getting to western NC or Shenandoah for a long week of backpacking and riding. I'm excited to merge my two hobbies.

Do any of you also ride cruiser style motorcycles? I'm really enjoying my time on two wheels I think it would be really cool to have a motorcycle that's a bit more powerful and suited for those more long distance things. Riding down the coast and back for a week, 600+ mile trips, etc. The XT could certainly do it. I'd have to make a route and take considerations, but it would also be nice to just hop on and go using the highway systems when needed. I however have NO idea what wind would be like on a bike 2-3 times the weight of the xt. Does it handle better? More stable feeling? Ideas for this bike would be like the Suzuki M50, Yamaha Vstar (not the 1100), maybe a honda shadow.

If you have any thoughts, experiences, I'm all ears!

Cheers!

Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151324 04/30/21 02:15 AM
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I'm 62 and have ridden cruiser motorcycles all my life. The majority of my 50+ bikes have been cruisers. I just can't handle the bent over riding position of sport type bikes. I am disabled now, but ever since my 20s I've had problems with my shoulders and neck. On a bike with low bars you have to support most of your upper body weight with your arms and shoulders, and because you are bent over so far, you have to bend your neck back about as far as it will go to see where you are going. Cruiser bikes let you sit upright, with most of your body weight on the seat, your neck and back straight, about a 90 degree bend in your knees and a bend in your elbows, so there is no weight on your arms other than your arms themselves.

I'm not as impressed with today's cruiser bikes as I am with older ones, because most of them have low wide "beach bar" type handlebars, where older cruisers had much higher bars, where you could reach straight out with your arms and the grips were right there. By far the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden is the Kawasaki Vulcan 750. It fits me perfectly. I'm on my third one, a 2002 model. The first 2 were bought new. I have over 200,000 miles on Vulcan 750s. Unfortunately finding a decent one now is almost impossible, they first came out in 1985, and the last ones were made in 2006. The whole time they were completely unchanged except for paint and emblems. I also have a 2006 Harley Sportster 1200L, and a 2016 Honda Rebel 250. I had to put forward mounted bars and forward controls on the Rebel in order to be able to fit on it.

If you decide to get a cruiser, I suggest looking for one with tubeless tires. If you are going to ride far from home, having a flat on a bike with tube type tires will completely strand you. A cruiser is not a lightweight bike like the XT, and it is pretty much impossible to fix a flat on tube type tires beside the road. Tubeless tires can be plugged, or you can put Ride-On in the tires, which will seal most punctures. I have it in all my bikes with tubeless tires. It won't work with tube type tires.

The Yamaha 1100 doesn't feel hardly any different from the 650. One of my favorite cruisers is the Honda Spirit 1100. It has higher bars than most. They are no longer made, but are easier to find and easier to work on than the Vulcan 750, and very comfortable. They have tubeless tires. I'd stay away from the really big heavy cruisers (1500cc and bigger) till you get more experience. But an 1100 is certainly doable. My Sportster 1200 is physically smaller than my Vulcan 750, it just has a bigger engine.

As for the wind, I never had a problem with that. I started riding at age 8 on a small dirt bike. At around 12 I moved up to a Honda SL175. Then at 16 I got my license and got a 1972 Suzuki GT380 2 stroke triple. Wow that thing seemed fast. It would wheelie in third gear. That was my first real experience with street riding. I had a 3/4 open face helmet with a snap on wrap around visor, and it was pretty windy at 60-70 mph, but I actually found it thrilling. It felt like I was going a lot faster than I really was. At age 20, after having a job for a couple of years, I bought my first new bike, a 1980 Suzuki GS450L, my first cruiser. It wasn't nearly as fast as the GT380, but it was super comfortable. That's where I found my favorite type of riding. Long distance touring. I've ridden over a million miles since then, not counting off road. I still love off road riding, where I got started, but at my age and in my condition, I have to take it a lot easier now. To me wind is part of the enjoyment of riding. I've heard it said that only a motorcyclist knows why a dog sticks their head out the window of a moving vehicle. I now wear a full face helmet and earplugs. I have some hearing damage from riding so long with the wind and road noise coming through my helmet. The XT225 is a 250 pound bike, and is easily blown around by the wind. It really isn't the best thing for highway use. A 500-600 pound cruiser would not get blown around nearly as much. It would have a much longer wheelbase and be a lot more stable. A cruiser would handle the highway just fine. However they are not designed for the racetrack like sport bikes, and you do have to slow down a little around sharp curves. One thing I don't recommend is a windshield. They just make things worse. I have neve tried one that did not cause extreme helmet buffeting, and being attached to the handlebars or forks, they act like a giant sail, and when a truck or gust of wind happens, that windshield will catch the wind and try to yank the bars right out of your hands. The only real exceptions to that are really big bikes like a Honda Goldwing that weigh 800-900 pounds and have a full fairing mounted on the front of the bike, not just a windshield.


The above is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
1994/2001 custom built XT225 with a ton of aftermarket parts.



Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151330 04/30/21 01:10 PM
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peejman Offline
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The wind definitely will blow you around a bit. Best to just relax and not get too stiff on the bars. A heavier bike will be better in the wind, but be wary of bikes with solid wheels (which seems to be a cruiser style thing), they are a real handful in crosswinds.

I've never been real impressed with cruiser bikes... seems many of them are more about style than function or comfort. Some are very low with so little ground clearance you drag hard parts really easily and the low height negates the visibility advantage of a motorcycle.

That said... if you're interested in a bike that would be great for touring, I happen to know a guy who's selling one.... wink
http://www.xt225.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=150658#Post150658


This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.
Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151335 05/01/21 03:36 AM
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d2reid Offline
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Like others I have been around a while and I have come full circle for my 10th motorcycle purchase, back to an Enduro, excuse me, dual sport motorcycle. The heavier the bike the less the wind effects you. Wind is unnerving until you have wrestled with it for a few hours, you slowly learn. Passing semis (or getting passed) or meeting them will get your attention the first couple of times. Getting in behind a semi's wake turbulence will shake you up a bit, blow you out as you start pass and then suck you back after you get past the front bumper.

Then you get your canyon cross winds. Come along in a cut fine and dandy, start over the bridge or dam and wow, someone is shoving you around. Wind happens.

So what to do. First off the more you encounter the more comfortable you will become. Wind doesn't bother me very much at all, my wife, who does not have nearly as many years riding as me, gets pretty freaked out about.

First rule is to not over react, don't be jerking the bike back in line, pull it back firmly but gently. When the wind is really pushy I tend to hug the center of the lane to give myself a little leeway. Not a good time to hug the lines where a 4" shove one way or the other will put you someplace you don't want to be. And then the big one, slow down. The slower you go the less off course you get, the easier it is correct.

Last edited by d2reid; 05/01/21 03:37 AM.
Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151722 06/16/21 06:19 PM
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Great advice above. You may also want to consider renting. Plenty of new websites for short-term rentals from private parties around. Or go super big iron and rent a BMW GS or Harley Pan AM (that's a super big dual-sport that should make a killer cruiser IMHO but I haven't had the chance to rent one yet.)

JP


Adding some Adventure to my life. Orange County, CA
'07 XT225
Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151741 06/17/21 08:04 PM
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Except for my early riding years I haven't spent any time on big bikes, so I don't pretend to know anything about their riding characteristics. However I do know what it feels like to ride my XT225 in fast traffic and have a fully loaded semi tractor/trailer blow past buffeting me and my bike like leaves pushed around by a leaf blower! That's 'not fun' at all, something to be avoided at all costs..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: New Rider - Getting used to wind [Re: GtrNut2112] #151753 06/18/21 09:57 PM
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The big cruisers are not sport bikes (which I call crotch rockets) which I consider to be the most uncomfortable and useless bikes ever made. Their only purpose is to go fast. They are by far the most crashed type of bike out there. My Vulcan 750 is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned, and that includes a couple of Goldwings. The Goldwing is the ultimate highway bike, but a bit big and heavy for riding around town. For me it is also a bit boring, because it is so smooth and quiet. If I could still ride one, I'd want a pre M8 Harley touring bike for highway riding. I love the way they feel and sound. And while I could still ride both a Goldwing or a large Harley on the highway, I definitely could not push one around the garage or maneuver one around in tight places. I would probably drop one just trying to back it into or out of a parking space. I consider the XT225 to be a trail bike, and definitely not suitable for freeway riding. It only weighs 250 pounds, and a semi truck moving at freeway speeds will blow it right off the road.


The above is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
1994/2001 custom built XT225 with a ton of aftermarket parts.




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