2017 CB500F, I’m the 2nd owner. My first motorcycle, no prior experience. I got her in Dec ‘19 and I’ve put 1,000 miles on so far. Loving it.
I'm assuming you've already taken a Basic Motorcycle Safety Course since you have license. If not, look into taking some courses. They're not just for beginners but nice reminders for experienced riders. Seat time is the surest and shortest path to being comfortable and proficient. An empty parking lot is a safe place to "practice" those U-turns and slow maneuvers without worrying about other distractions and on-lookers. Try to remember to "look" where you want to go, not where you've been, especially on those tight turns. And don't forget to take along a good Sense of Humor.. it'll help if you're not so hard on yourself. Enjoy and Ride Safe.Thank you! I just double checked and its free of any recall worries. If anyone has any videos/practice routines that helped them get better at low speed maneuvers I’m all ears, still really lacking confidence in tight u-turns and such.
oh for sure - I was in no means insinuating that this is a “starter bike” only. In fact, I did a ton of research and had my heart set on a ninja 400 but ended up with this one because it seemed more well balanced and a really good long term bike. So far I am absolutely thrilled with it. Ive already installed a Puig windshield, will be adding shorty levers this weekend, and have been thinking about the seat and sprocket mods. The suspension mod is not one I had read about yet - thank you for the heads up!Ayyknayo: From someone at the other end of the spectrum of 2017 CB-500F owners (Mine is my 85th bike), don't treat your CB-500 as a beginner's bike. Mine obviously is not and I am very pleased with it. I recommend you keep it for a long time. It offers solid reliability, good handling, adequate power, very low fuel consumption, and for me it's still a very enjoyable bike even tho I can afford any bike on the market. Not bragging; just pointing out that "moving up" from a CB-500F is not necessarily mandatory or perhaps even desirable. You'll find suspension is stiff (I'm very slight and barely create any sag when I hop on) but there are excellent after-market suspension bits that will make the bike much more comfortable and will cost far less than a move up ($$$) to a "real bike". A Corbin seat is a likely must for most riders who intend to ride over 30-40 miles at a time. A 16T or 17T counter- shaft (front) sprocket upgrade from the OEM 15T is easily done at modest expense and can drop rpm significantly. I use a 17 for relaxed cruising. Handlebars can be raised. 30mm (1.3") very easily and inexpensively (all standard cables and wires work as is) and this makes for a little better riding position. Hunt around this forum. There is a wealth of information here and many owners are "up there" in years; not just hew riders.
I've had larger touring and sport bikes by the dozen but the CB-500 really is a very good choice.for a long and happy relationship.
wow thank you for the detailed response! I got myself some tiny soccer cones and have been planning on doing some drills in a flat, empty lot but honestly every time I take her out for a ride end up cruising...I know, not the smartest although practicing cornering cant hurt either I suppose.It's worth restating: look where you want to go. That is like 80% of it. Your brain will automatically make you go there without you having to think too hard about it. If you're looking down or looking the wrong direction the bike will go there instead of where you wanted to go! Practice forcing yourself to keep your eyes up high, and look to where you're trying to go instead of where you are now. If you're doing a U-turn you should be pretty much looking all the way over your shoulder as you start to turn.
For slow speed maneuvers the key is pretty much slipping the clutch and keeping the engine revs up. These bikes have a wet clutch, where the clutch is partially submerged in motor oil, so it doesn't hurt to slip the clutch all day long. Most motorcycles are engineered that way. Having the engine speed up a little bit (e.g., 4000 - 5000 rpm) will give you more stability at low speeds. The force of the engine turning helps to keep the bike stable despite the low speed. And by slipping the clutch you can still go as slowly as you need to, despite the engine's speed. Just be careful not to let go of the clutch lever.
You can also drag a little bit of rear brake. That can help to control your speed too, and also helps to hold the bike up if you do it properly. Just be sure not to lock the wheel up! A stopped motorcycle will always fall if leaned over. If brakes were used to stop it on a lean there's also a good chance momentum will slam it to the ground hard so avoid that. Be sure not to stop until you've stood the bike straight up again! And avoid the front brake at low speeds because if you lock the front you'll definitely dump it.
An experienced rider can do slow speeds with rear brake only or without even slipping the clutch, but there's no shame in using both. It's easiest if you utilize both to make the job easier and safer. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice the better you'll be. It won't take long until you don't think twice about it and just do it. Be sure to practice on dry, level pavement without any sand/gravel hazards and with little or no traffic and good visibility so that you can focus on your riding and don't have to worry as much about your surroundings.
YouTube is full of videos that demonstrate this too. Spend a few minutes to go through a few of them. Don't take advice for granted either. The Internet is full of good information, but there is also some bad information out there. Be sure to criticize everything you learn, and if you think something doesn't sound right do more research or ask here for some experienced advice. Some things are really subjective and there is no right or wrong answer.
And of course, ATGATT: All the Gear, All the Time! Safety gear is required to stay safe on a motorcycle. You never know when an accident will happen. Wear full protective gear every time you get on the motorcycle, even at slow speeds. It doesn't take much to tear your skin off.