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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2009, 8:59 pm Thread Starter
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Bad Habits

I readily admit that I am not a professional rider. I have been riding on and off since I was 16 (over 20 years) and have noticed something; my bad habits. Not only does my riding position leave a lot to be desired (which I am practicing) but my ability to properly maneuver the bike is much more .....noticeable. It seems my current bike is quickly pointing out my inability to make smooth transitions. I know it's not the bike; I am quick to take the blame. Aside from taking a MSF riding course (which I have every intention of doing), can anyone direct me somewhere where I can see the proper ways of doing things? This bike is much larger than what I am used to and I don't like how much struggling it is taking me to maintain balance at low speeds.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2009, 9:20 pm
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Which bike are you talking about? I assume it is one of the 1200/1300K bike series. Riding a big bike after riding smaller ones DOES take some time getting the hang of it.
I would start off on a very level spot in a driveway or parking lot. I would make sure that my feet are flat on the ground balancing the bike. Make sure that your body is comfortable and at least enough of your weight is on the handlebars to be able to put pressure forward on one side or the other.
Start off in 1st gear going very slowly easing the clutch until you are moving at a fairly low speed. Just keep making lazy circles in one direction then the other by pushing a little forward on one grip and then the other. let your body flow with the turn. Do not try leaning over in order to turn. Your body should flow just smoothly. Do this until you are very comfortable turning. Then you can shift into higher speeds doing the same manuevering. it should not be long before you are super comfortable to ride at higher speeds. Just remember, this bike is quite heavy and at low speeds, too much body movement nleaning could make your riding jerky and uncomfortable.

next lesson: Take the MSF riding course and then onto the advanced course with your own bike. ride with a group of friends or a club and ask them to observe your riding sytle.

I ride oftern with a group or dealer ride to learn to hone my skills.

And I am only 72 and still learning!

Larry
Deep Blue 2009 K1300GT
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2009, 9:22 pm
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What do you have for a bike? After reading your bio and seeing you ride a mountain bike I'm surprised you have a slow speed problem.

Wayne

http://fergie.smugmug.com/

2006 K1200GT Blue
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2009, 9:34 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. Yes, I ride a K1200, which is much larger than any other motorcycle I have ever ridden. On my mountain bike, I am quite nimble at low speeds, but I would have to attribute this to the fact that I am not paranoid about falling (which is more often than one might expect.) Then there is the weight difference.

It just seems to me that, at higher speeds, I have a tendency to over apply the brake before a turn and I usually wind up going much slower than I need to be going. This leads to less than smooth turns.

In parking lots and areas where careful maneuvering is required, I seem to be fighting the bike a bit more than I would like. Granted, like the person above stated, it will certainly take some getting used to.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 2009, 10:37 pm
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Sounds like you are tensing up. It's like riding in heavy winds, if you tense up it makes it worse. As far as over braking, I think that you don't have the confidence you should have in the bike so you over brake which make the bike turn more than needed. The GT is a very sure footed bike and is forgiving. Just practice slow maneuvering a little at a time and see what happens.

Wayne

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2006 K1200GT Blue
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 2009, 12:12 am
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You need more confidence, which only comes with more practice. Not just blasting away on some backroad and hoping that you don't screw up and crash, but focused, repeated practice in a controlled environment.

Take the beginners MSF course, listen to them, and do what they suggest. And even afterwards, go to a parking lot and practice. Then practice some more. And maybe even a bit more. You didn't learn to ride your first bicycle in one day, did you? Nor did you learn how to ride the mountain bike anywhere near its full potential in a day or two.

Look for some of the better riding skills books. The Proficient Motorcycling series by David Hough will give you a good, basic foundation that will serve you well. Also look at Total Control by Lee Parks, A Twist of the Wrist I & II by Keith Code, and Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch.

When you get a few more miles down and are feeling a little more confident, take the Experienced MSF course. And maybe look into some of the other training options out there. There are several schools that hold rider skills courses on a race track, but are not "go as fast as you can" track days. There is a difference.

As for those pesky corners, the first thing you can do is slow down well before you get to the corner. Don't wait until you're already there and have to hit the brakes hard, but plan it out much further and do it much smoother. The trick is to go in slow, roll in smoothly, and use the throttle to pull you out. If you even think about braking in the middle of a corner, then you've already done it wrong. Honest emergency maneuvers are excepted here of course, but if you're braking in almost every corner then you need to slow down and start reading the road better.

And don't stress too much about it. It'll get better, if you're willing to invest in yourself. Like I said, nobody gets it perfect without working hard at it.

Ken
Pacific NorthWet
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles and counting...
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 60K miles miles and counting...
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#145, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032

All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .

Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...

Last edited by Meese; Jun 20th, 2009 at 1:08 am.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 2009, 7:47 am
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I was the same way what helped me was i moved the handlebars down one notch from being all the way at the top. This gave me more front in feed back and it also seems better to control i am considering moving it more love the way this bike handles.

2008 K1200 GT Blue
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 2009, 8:04 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meese
Take the beginners MSF course, listen to them, and do what they suggest. And even afterwards, go to a parking lot and practice. Then practice some more. And maybe even a bit more. You didn't learn to ride your first bicycle in one day, did you? Nor did you learn how to ride the mountain bike anywhere near its full potential in a day or two.

Look for some of the better riding skills books. The Proficient Motorcycling series by David Hough will give you a good, basic foundation that will serve you well.

<SNIP>

When you get a few more miles down and are feeling a little more confident, take the Experienced MSF course.

<SNIP>
As for those pesky corners, the first thing you can do is slow down well before you get to the corner. Don't wait until you're already there and have to hit the brakes hard, but plan it out much further and do it much smoother. The trick is to go in slow, roll in smoothly, and use the throttle to pull you out. If you even think about braking in the middle of a corner, then you've already done it wrong. Honest emergency maneuvers are excepted here of course, but if you're braking in almost every corner then you need to slow down and start reading the road better.

And don't stress too much about it. It'll get better, if you're willing to invest in yourself. Like I said, nobody gets it perfect without working hard at it.
Quoting the best parts of Ken's post and agreeing 100%.

The MSF beginners course provides the foundation you need to get all of this together.

They teach you what to think about so you can move beyond being hesitant and doing things that may lead you into trouble.

I recall them saying that as you approach a turn think "Slow, look, lean and roll". This means to only reduce the throttle a bit to *SLOW* (not apply brakes), Physically turn your helmetted head to *LOOK* directly at where you will end up when you complete the turn (or as far ahead as you can see if it is a blind turn), then by applying pressure on the correct hand grip you initiate the *LEAN* into the turn, and finally *ROLL* on the throttle to accelerate slightly through the turn.

This process becomes natural once you practice it enough and it eliminates the panic application of brakes in turns. If you are applying brakes in turns (enless it's really an emergency as Ken said) you are potentially in big trouble.

Take the Beginners MSF course ASAP. Hint: go to the next class even if they tell you it is full. Someone always does not show up and they may let you take their seat if they are nice instructors and their group permits it.

Bob Naumann
K1300GT
IBA 19100
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 8:20 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks for the pointers folks. As of right now, all I have been concentrating on is the MYRP that someone suggested to me. Since I read that article and then out to practice it, I have not had a single issue with pain in my wrists or my hands falling asleep. Okay, my thighs are a bit overworked (probably stressing the squat too much), but a good nights rest fixes this up.

There are a few videos on youtube that I watched as well. Nothing overly clever, but some good pointers to folks like me who have picked up a few bad habits over the years.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 3:57 am
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I totally agree about riding through and out of a corner, being at the correct speed before you enter the corner etc. Try riding without using the brakes. Vision into corners is also a significant factor. Clearly if you are in open countryside with clear views and no obstructions then it's easier. However, if you have trees, bushes, hedges, fences etc blocking your view it's important to get as much information as early as possible. Over here we drive on the correct side of the road so I'm coverting this for you guys and pretending I'm riding on the right...
Approach left hand bends well over to the right, this gives you a better view into the corner. Clearly you have to draw a compromise between giving yourself a little space for running out, and watching out for loose gravel on a possible unused part of the road.
Approach right hand bends well over towards the centre of the road. Again this provides a "longer" view into and beyond the corner. Clearly keep a watch out for vehicles coming towards you and cutting the corner. However, being towards the centre lets you see them earlier, they may even see you too! While this method gives you a slightly longer route than a "racing" line it's generally quicker because you have more information which lets you maintain more "progress with safety". Practice, practice, practice.

Low speed riding is about confidence. Find a big, empty, car park. For a slow walking speed try keeping in gear, clutch out / being feathered and very gentle control with the rear brake. Also try general balance exercises, standing up while riding slowly, kneeling on the seat (practice the transition with it on the centre stand)... you might want to try this on someboby else's bike the first time . You have the skills from a mountain bike... your brain knows what to do... the reactions are already there... you just need to upscale it onto a bigger toy.

Some ref's...
http://www.northdevondrivers.org.uk/...e_guidance.pdf
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