Any suggestions for better riding skill & cornering? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Any suggestions for better riding skill & cornering?

I'm still a newbie-- All of 450 miles on the V purchased last spring. I get out when I can & took a nice 20 mile ride this afternoon. Discovered my rubber isolating of the inner cowl totally eliminated the dreaded cowling buzz (see sticky in the technical board for my summary & pics).

I realize that I am weakest at cornering. Hard to admit it, but leaning makes me rather nervous. I've been doing some research & have been watching the "A twist of the wrist" DVD. Picked up a few tricks on throttle input, lines to take, etc., but am still nervous. Don't like being on the outside of curves as oncoming motorists tend to come close or cross over. Seen that happen to others with horrific results.

Any suggestions, books, DVDs or the like? I took the basic motorcycle course, which helped even though I've ridden dirt bikes as a kid.

Thanks to all in advance.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:23 PM
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Have you read through this thread? It may answer some of your questions. In the meantime, one question for you; where are you looking as you corner, how far in front of the bike?
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:25 PM
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Well, get a lot of reading done and understand what happens to you and the bike when on conner,s.

My best advice since you have done enough reading and research is to get a good riding buddy to help you out. Don,t do it alone.
When I cam back to biking after a long absence it was Stlee29 and MYRED who guided me and gave me confidence. Now I am confident in twisters and almost don't touch the brakes.

Take it easy and don't carry too much speed. drop a gear or two and go in slow and once you are in sight of the apex, pull away. All this will need practise. Take your time and get someone to help you or guide you.

ROME WAS NOT BUILD IN ONE DAY.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:30 PM
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A good book: David Hough - "Proficient Motorcycling"
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:30 PM
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Some good books: Some are on DVD.

1. MSF Guide to Motorcycling Excellence (Skill, Knowledge and Strategies for Riding Right)
2. Motorcycle Touring and Travel by Bill Stermer
3. Motorcycling Excellence, 2nd ed.
4. More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride
5. Twist of the Wrist II by Keith Code
6. Celement Salvadori's "101 Road Tails"

Try browsing http://www.whitehorsepress.com.

Best Regards. Jws3.

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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:32 PM
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Awesome question that shows great maturity.

My advice is practice, practice, practice.

Imagine a corner has three parts. The first is the braking zone where you set your entry speed before turning into the corner. Carrying the brakes into the corner (trail braking) is more advanced and I'd avoid it until you're more experienced.

The second part, mid-corner, release the brakes and add a small amount of throttle to shift some of the load from the front tire. First thing to practice - once you add throttle avoid going on and off. Once you pickup the throttle practice holding steady or gradually increasing throttle. Second thing to practice - when you turn into the corner practice setting a constant lean angle through the corner. Just like throttle use, practice a smooth arc through the corner without constant changes in your lean angle.

The last part of the corner is the exit. At this point, you will stand the motorcylce up as you feed in more throttle. As you stand the motorcycle up on the meaty part of the throttle you can begin to add throttle.

Keep you head and eyes active. When you make a right turn, turn your head and eyes so you can look through the turn. Don't just keep your head in one spot.

Always strive to be smooth and work your speed up very gradually. The Versys has enough grip to scrape the pegs feelers if operated smoothly, so take it easy and use every ride as a chance to get better!

Don
"ride more, worry less"
2005 Suzuki GSXR1000 (slightly bent) - Track
2000 Honda VFR800 - Street
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 10:33 PM
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J,

Have you taken an MSF class, yet? If not, check out www.msf-usa.org. They have both beginner and advanced road courses. I was fortunate to be able to take one before I bought my V. There is a lot of good information in that beginner's course if you have a decent instructor.

Whit
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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I look quite far ahead-- and if I can't see the end of the curve I slow considerably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flying_hun View Post
Have you read through this thread? It may answer some of your questions. In the meantime, one question for you; where are you looking as you corner, how far in front of the bike?
Didn't see that thread despite a search. I look very far ahead to see what to expect as the last thing I want to do is brake in a curve unless absolutely necessary, i.e. someone pulls in front of me. Being past 40 has indeed made me more cautious. Got a wife & kids to care for.

My biggest limitation, besides fear of sliding/high siding, is oncoming cars. I'm in the legal field and have worked on cases where bikers were hit by oncoming cars nudging over the line with appalling results. That's why I bought Cycleport's kevlar/armored gear to appease my wife.

If I can't see the end of the curve I slow down more than I would in the car. The last thing I want is a decreasing radius turn or the like. Took the MSF course and learned a lot. It was a bit too basic for curves, however.

Thanks to the advice here I just placed a multi book order from Amazon. Always best to hear from other riders as to what helped them personally. Beats the canned "reviews". Hopefully these will help.

Last edited by jws3; 08-28-2010 at 11:38 PM.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:27 PM
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Here is some guide to cornering techniques. hope it helps and best as I said earlier , get a buddy to guide you.
http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/corners/

On what i have gone through so far , the Versys s a very forgiving bike and wont slide down, that's if you don't push it too far. That,s the best I like of the Versys. From you last post I thinks-IMHO, its fear and mind set. Have some confidence in your self and you should be OK.



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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:47 PM
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When you scrape footpegs on a corner you may be leaned over a bit much
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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You nailed it.

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Originally Posted by Fastoman View Post
Here is some guide to cornering techniques. hope it helps and best as I said earlier , get a buddy to guide you.
http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/corners/

On what i have gone through so far , the Versys s a very forgiving bike and wont slide down, that's if you don't push it too far. That,s the best I like of the Versys. From you last post I thinks-IMHO, its fear and mind set. Have some confidence in your self and you should be OK.


Wish I could find a buddy, but I'm the only one in my circle who owns a bike! The rest think I'm nuts. Restored an old '79 Suzuki TS185 I've owned since new a few years ago, which rekindled the desire to ride. Gotta look a little harder. Excellent site you referenced, BTW.

You nailed it on the fear & mind set. Exactly my diagnosis, which is why I thought I'd ask around. The bike is far more capable than I am, at least for now. I take familiar turns a little faster and practice slowly, since the margin for error is small and results of a mistake potentially catastrophic. Unlike a car with a crushed fender the price would be higher.

Thanks to all for the input. Gave me much to think about!
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-28-2010, 11:59 PM
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jws3.

Ride safe and be safe. Take it easy and don't worry too much on falling. say you wont fall and you will not, but if you keep fearing of falling down than that's where you are headed.

I am sure you know the power of thoughts. BE POSITIVE.

Take care buddy
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 12:05 AM
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Empty high school and stadium parking lots are an awesome place to practice. They tend to be completely empty on many weekends. Check around where you live. I didn't see you say whether you've been to an msf class, but it is HIGHLY worth it!
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Good suggestions. I did take the class & learned quite a bit.

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Empty high school and stadium parking lots are an awesome place to practice. They tend to be completely empty on many weekends. Check around where you live. I didn't see you say whether you've been to an msf class, but it is HIGHLY worth it!
Good ideas. Found the class helpful on the 2nd day. The first was extremely basic, i.e. what is a clutch.

The younger me was more inclined to think I knew more than I did. Not so much past 40....
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 12:53 AM
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The bike is far more capable than I am, at least for now.
Unless you become one great rider, it will be far more capable than you to an extent beyond anything you can now imagine.


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I take familiar turns a little faster and practice slowly, since the margin for error is small and results of a mistake potentially catastrophic. Unlike a car with a crushed fender the price would be higher.
Yes, motorcycling is dangerous. It's a given. The key is not in whether a car comes around a blind curve in your lane or not, it's what you do when that happens. Build skills. You can deal with it.

Where are you located? Have you looked to see if there is a local motorcycling webforum based near you? That would be a good way to find locals you can ride with.
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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastoman View Post
Well, get a lot of reading done and understand what happens to you and the bike when on conners.

My best advice since you have done enough reading and research is to get a good riding buddy to help you out. Don,t do it alone.
When I cam back to biking after a long absence it was Stlee29 and MYRED who guided me and gave me confidence. Now I am confident in twisters and almost don't touch the brakes.

Take it easy and don't carry too much speed. drop a gear or two and go in slow and once you are in sight of the apex, pull away. All this will need practise. Take your time and get someone to help you or guide you.

ROME WAS NOT BUILD IN ONE DAY.

Most welcome and Enjoy the company. Have to do outings more. A riding partner helps a lot with advise and example.

Take care, Fastoman.


Brilliant advice all around.
I remember this many years ago. I have always rode more than driving.
But I learn to apply what I learn in driving to riding.
Break it down in segments when driving in a turn.

Brake to slow down to a comfortable entry speed and riding line.
Lean the bike (countersteer/ press down/push ahead the handlebar/ body positioning)
Twist open the throttle slowly/ press the accelerator gently (car)
Look ahead to see where you want to go, any surprises
Control the throttle for correct riding exit line

Hope it helps.

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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 03:03 AM
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following mates lines is one way, but it depends on wheher they are any good themselvs, otherwise yur just learning thier habits (good or bad)

if you want to improve YOUR riding, then consider getting a half day or days training form a professional trainer, or someone like ROSPA/IAM

In the UK there are two organisations (ROSPA & IAM) who have local affialiates/ groups both of whom have bike sections. both do soem form of trainign to enable you to be a safer rider. its not for everyone as they are a bit 'nanny state' in theor approach. there may well be an equivalent of those organisations near you

I learned more for a half day (well one and a half days) time with a professional trainer. it didn't cost a huge amount in terms of the fuel and maintenance on the road. think of it as around one set of tyres.
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 04:06 AM
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Not a big fan of following mates lines unless it is Gustavo as he rides a great line after watching his vid clips. The problem with following mates lines and watching/focusing on them is that if they go off the road, more than likely you will go off the road and it happens more than most riders would like to admit. A training track day is one of the best ways to learn correct motorbike techniques no matter how long you have been riding.
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 07:24 AM
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I have only been riding for two years but have progressed a lot with the same issues that you are having. Three things helped me; 1) don't push yourself, it will come 2) look through the turn, beginning riders tend to look down at the road, but you need to look at where you want the bike to go 3) practice, practice, practice.

The biggest thing with practice is that you will learn what the bike if capable of and what it is going to do in a given situation, so that you don't have to think so much about what you are doing. Practice everything. But I can't stress enough, don't push yourself. The more you scare yourself on the bike the harder learning it will be. Now go ride and have some fun!!!

By the way, what part of the world are you in?

Steve

I bought a motorcycle because my wife said that I couldn't! Now I have two and she still says I can't have another one!
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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 08-29-2010, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jws3 View Post

My biggest limitation, besides fear of sliding/high siding, is oncoming cars. I'm in the legal field and have worked on cases where bikers were hit by oncoming cars nudging over the line with appalling results. That's why I bought Cycleport's kevlar/armored gear to appease my wife.
Go do a trackday. No cars, deer, sand, cell phones etc, etc. Many of the providers have instruction along with their novice groups and you can ride at your own pace. I know you can rent leathers too. Trackdays don't mean you have to go as fast as you can, or that you want to race, they are just about the perfect environment to learn exactly what you are asking for. But be careful, because if you like it........ its very addiciting.

Motorcycles, can't live without them!
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