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Discussion Starter #1
Hello to everyone out there in Harley world. I just spent a week getting my learner permit and Motorcycle endorsement on my friends 2003 883 Sportster. I have ridden about 120 miles a day getting used to the bike and riding on the road and fell in love with riding street bikes from this experience. I came from motorcross racing 30 years ago and this is my first experience riding a street bike and it set the hook in my jaw. Thankfully I live in West Virginia where riding in the curvy two-lane mountain roads is all around me and made for learning quick.

Well, that’s the background and here is the present, I going down in the morning to purchase a new 2009 Road King from our local dealer. My guess is there is no comparison from the 883 Sportster to the Road King and hopefully I will keep it on both wheels. I really like this site and have gained a lot of information so if anyone has any advise for a true green horn please share, thanks.
 

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COB
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Congrats on the endorsement and welcome to the site.
 

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WVBARTMAN, I rode dirt bikes for 40 years, quit for 7 years and then bought my first road bike in Februray. An new 883 sportster. Since I don't do long trips (100 miles max) I set it up like my dirt bike. Its a fun bike and you can even slide that 560 lb monster through a corner in the dirt. I must be careful though because at 130 lbs its kind of tough for me to pick it up. I have had to do it twice. What I am saying is that you are never too old to buy a Harley.
 

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Just passing thru
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The fact that your worried about how to ride the RK leads me to believe you will be just fine. Here's a good site for beginner tips. It's not from my state but there is some good info click here.
 

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Shovelhead
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WVBatman, I started riding dirt bikes when I was 10 yrs old and have been riding street bikes now since I was 16. Total of 38 years. I just completed the BRC in Pa with my daughter since this is her first street machine and I was surpised at what I learned. I thought I knew it all of course I found out that I didn't. My daughter actually got a better score than me:rolleyes:Oh ya and it is free in Pa! Greta choice too. Enjoy.
 

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I break stuff.
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You'll be fine. Congratulations, and welcome!
 

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new beginnings

congratulations on the road king! But, may I make a few suggestions please. As much as I like West Virginia also, you need to practice with this heavy bike a little bit in a parking lot. You're going to notice a huge difference, for one thing and how the brakes work. The other thing is this bike is not going to turn anywhere near as efficiently, as the sportster does. When I first got into heavy bikes, I did an awful lot of circles and figure eights in parking lots. Also did a lot of drills, with the brakes.the one thing you're going to really like about this bike, is it has a decent set of headlights! that's one thing you can't say for the sportster. One additional item, there is a unit available which is cheap, that turns your rear turn signals into an accessory stoplight. The more lights you have especially in the rear, the better off you're going to be. Personally, don't need the sportster anymore get rid of it. And last if it's between $1000 worth of chrome goodies, and $1000 worth of leather, buy the leather!leather goods usually is a good investment, for years to come! I still own the same leather Langlitz jacket , and have been to it least four bikes! You're going to be traveling next season with this bike and, it's nice to have good leather. Wish you the best and keep safe!
 

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Hi WVBartman!

I'm in the same boat as you (almost) because I'm a beginner who wants to buy a Road King. I rented one for a day and taking it around town and taking turns on it, especially coming from the safety course bike, was a challenge. I could feel myself becoming more and more comfortable with it. The open road is very nice. I have aske several people and they all say that if you can get a Road King, get it, because if you buy a smaller bike you'll just want a bigger one in 6 months.
 

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Who said that?
 

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No amount of courses, schooling, suggestions, can take the place of experience. Get on the bike plan a ride on a paved, lonely road and just chalk up some miles. If another bike wants to go along great but go at your own pace. You will find that with time the bike will break better, corner faster, and run smoother. I wish this snow would melt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I wanted to report back and tell everyone how much I appreciated your responses/comments. I have ridden the Road King now for 2 months and have 4,100 miles on it and love it. Several things I have learned and thought I would share with other beginners.

Road King is not a good beginner bike for three reasons:

1. Seat height if your inseam is less than 30 inches.
2. Distance is too little between your floorboard and your passengers floor board when stopping.
3. The weight/seat height makes it hard to handle backing up.

Having said all the negative I could find, I cut my teeth on a big bike and learned the hard way. Having never owned a bike before (the 883 Sportster was a buddies who loaned it to me for a week) the Road King was a big learning experience that I enjoyed every mile. Would I do it again, the answer is yes, but let me clarify one thing, having never ridden a street bike before, 30 years ago I was a motorcross racer who had a 41% win rate.

Advise to the New Rider from a New Rider:

1. Always have your handlebar straight when you stop.
2. Keep your head up when stopping, don’t fixate on the place your trying to avoid when stopping because you’ll end up aiming right for it.
3. Look where you want to go when turning, look 10 to 30 yards ahead of you in a curve, it makes the curves smoother and safer.
4. When stopping with a passenger and you want to be smooth and in 3 rd gear through 1st, use your front brake only unless you feel the need to gear down all the way to first like an idiot. Your hand controlled front brake will give you a much smoother and controlled stop than trying to use your back brake and then at the last second putting your foot down and having to grab a lot of front brake to make up for the lack of back brake since you had to get your foot ready to catch the bike.
5. Don’t ride a passenger until you feel competent to handle a passenger and if your lucky enough to have the option, try and get your first passenger to be someone with some riding experience and hopefully she’s pretty and small.
6. If at all possible, take a riding course, I didn’t and survived but my learning curve would have been much easier if I had.
7. Ride alone the first couple of rides and totally obey the speed limits in curves and if necessary go slower, pick a nice desolate road though.

I know several of you on here will want to criticize what I wrote and your welcome to. I think many riders with a lot of miles under their belt have forgotten the little things that they don’t even realize they do when riding. Even now as I write I can think of several other things to tell a new rider but realize you have to stop somewhere.

Once again, thanks to everyone who responded and encouraged me, I know I may be old to start riding but this bike has been one of the best decisions I have made.

Ride safe and ride like they don’t see you.
 

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Just passing thru
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I wanted to report back and tell everyone how much I appreciated your responses/comments. I have ridden the Road King now for 2 months and have 4,100 miles on it and love it. Several things I have learned and thought I would share with other beginners.

Road King is not a good beginner bike for three reasons:

1. Seat height if your inseam is less than 30 inches.
2. Distance is too little between your floorboard and your passengers floor board when stopping.
3. The weight/seat height makes it hard to handle backing up.

Having said all the negative I could find, I cut my teeth on a big bike and learned the hard way. Having never owned a bike before (the 883 Sportster was a buddies who loaned it to me for a week) the Road King was a big learning experience that I enjoyed every mile. Would I do it again, the answer is yes, but let me clarify one thing, having never ridden a street bike before, 30 years ago I was a motorcross racer who had a 41% win rate.

Advise to the New Rider from a New Rider:

1. Always have your handlebar straight when you stop.
2. Keep your head up when stopping, don’t fixate on the place your trying to avoid when stopping because you’ll end up aiming right for it.
3. Look where you want to go when turning, look 10 to 30 yards ahead of you in a curve, it makes the curves smoother and safer.
4. When stopping with a passenger and you want to be smooth and in 3 rd gear through 1st, use your front brake only unless you feel the need to gear down all the way to first like an idiot. Your hand controlled front brake will give you a much smoother and controlled stop than trying to use your back brake and then at the last second putting your foot down and having to grab a lot of front brake to make up for the lack of back brake since you had to get your foot ready to catch the bike.
5. Don’t ride a passenger until you feel competent to handle a passenger and if your lucky enough to have the option, try and get your first passenger to be someone with some riding experience and hopefully she’s pretty and small.
6. If at all possible, take a riding course, I didn’t and survived but my learning curve would have been much easier if I had.
7. Ride alone the first couple of rides and totally obey the speed limits in curves and if necessary go slower, pick a nice desolate road though.

I know several of you on here will want to criticize what I wrote and your welcome to. I think many riders with a lot of miles under their belt have forgotten the little things that they don’t even realize they do when riding. Even now as I write I can think of several other things to tell a new rider but realize you have to stop somewhere.

Once again, thanks to everyone who responded and encouraged me, I know I may be old to start riding but this bike has been one of the best decisions I have made.

Ride safe and ride like they don’t see you.
Great report. Glad your enjoying the ride!
 

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Curmudgeon
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Welcome these people know what they're talking about stay safe.:ride
 
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