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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Riding Tips?

ANY RIDING TIPS FOR AN INTERMEDIATE RIDER?

I debated over posting this thread at all. If I saw someone post this thread I would tell them to take a rider course and quit trying to get themselves killed. BUUUUUUUUTTTTT, everyone on this forum seems very nice and I hope you will all take my word for it when I say that I am definitely a proficient rider and have had no problems with handling or crashing or anything else, but I want to know more. I want some of the basic riding tips in written form. I've read a bunch and ridden around 4,000 miles so far (only a couple hundred on the Versys) but never taken a rider course where they put riding techniques into words.

I want to lean better, go through curves more safely and more confidently, shift fast and in the best way for longevity for my V, and just get to be an overall better rider. My bike is the best, why shouldn't I be?

I will be taking the advanced rider course at some point...or maybe there's a specific course people like better? I'm over doing slow paced u-turns while the guy next to me drops his 250 cruiser because he's never ridden before and I was not super stoked to learn to ride over 2x4s (intermediate course)...think I basically have that covered. But maybe the advanced course? Don't know what that covers. Anyone taken it?

I just want more control over my beast. Any tips? Anything at all? Nothing is too basic for this thread or too advanced. I just want to hear about the stuff I have presumably been doing already but in words. It helps me learn!

LittleRider

"Ad augusta per angusta" ... "To great places by way of narrow roads"

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered" -- G.K. Chesterson

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:39 PM
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+1 on Proficient Motorcycling (and More Proficient Motorcycling). Understand the fundamentals, practice good technique and go ride. It's also helpful to ride in front of someone who is more skilled and experienced than you are and ask for some constructive criticism based on their observations of your riding.


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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Good idea Bones. I'll have to find someone who knows what they're doing to follow me around some. I've read Proficient Motorcycling but it could use another look. Thanks guys!

LittleRider

"Ad augusta per angusta" ... "To great places by way of narrow roads"

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered" -- G.K. Chesterson

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 04:57 PM
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Read Proficient Motorcycling after 8,000 miles on the Versys. There's a lot of learning there. The book is basic but put a lot of the stuff you do (or don't) in context. I am looking to do an advanced course myself. Don't care much for a track day. Lot's of fun but little practical application. You don't usually take a curve @ 100 MPH in a track everyday. I would like to take a top gun training. That's a training that teahces the skills training professional motorcycle police use everyday. I commute in my bike every day weather allowing. I want to learn how to stay in one piece while riding in traffic. Maybe followed by a TRC course to solidify the skills I use while riding for fun on weekends.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleRider View Post
I'll have to find someone who knows what they're doing to follow me around some.
be careful about this technique. plenty of people have plenty of miles behind them without crashing, but this doesn't make a person an expert rider. lots of people are surviving on luck. just as slower does not mean safer, faster does not equate to better. the smart play is to learn from a trained instructor, unless your chosen sensai has credentials.

check this thread, there are plenty of better options.

In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
Seal/CRAZY/misquoted


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:22 PM
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Little R - no disrespect, but with 4k miles under your belt you are still very much a beginner. Don't take offense, my mileage is slightly less than yours, so it goes without saying that I am very much a beginner myself.

Which begs the question - at exactly what mileage does one move from novice/beginner to the next level? And then at what point is one considered expert?

The answer is obviously that it varies from rider to rider. There are some who are naturally talented and will quickly excel, while some will never be more than adequate despite years of dedicated practice.

The important thing, IMHO, is to ALWAYS be a learner. 1k miles, 100k miles - as soon as we believe we've nothing left to learn is when the unthinkable will happen.

You're obviously after better technique, so kudos to you. The books the others have suggested get recommended time and again - I need to pick up a few myself.

Continue to practice the fundamentals like panic stops, emergency swerving and the like. Learn to be smooth, not fast.

Always ride like you're invisible, and stay reasonably near to the posted speed limit on unfamiliar roads and the rest will take care of itself with time, IMHO.

Preachy self-important rant over, thanks for listening.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:58 PM
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I've ridden the Versys two years, and I'm still learning, just as any rider learns something all the time. I thought I was a pretty decent rider until I joined MSTA and rode with truly experienced sport riders. I don't really want to ride that fast, but I am riding with more confidence as I ride with those who are more skilled. The most important rule that everyone tells you, know your abilities and don't exceed your limits.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Element View Post
I've ridden the Versys two years, and I'm still learning, just as any rider learns something all the time. I thought I was a pretty decent rider until I joined MSTA and rode with truly experienced sport riders. I don't really want to ride that fast, but I am riding with more confidence as I ride with those who are more skilled. The most important rule that everyone tells you, know your abilities and don't exceed your limits.
Above is one of the best bits of advice you will get
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:06 PM
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Treat every one else on the road like they idiots and expeceted them to do the unexpected and thats more than half battle and the other half is what Element already said "know your abilities and don't exceed your limits." My 2 cents!
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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I agree that we are always learning and when we stop, we'd better be dead or we will be soon. I'm a rock climbing and backcountry adventure instructor/guide. Even though I teach people how to stay safe, I always consider myself a humble student of safety so that I stay constantly vigilant and never get complacent.

I would like to take the advanced rider course or possibly that top gun police motorcycle course, but I'm sure they are quite expensive. Obviously they are worth it though.

LittleRider

"Ad augusta per angusta" ... "To great places by way of narrow roads"

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered" -- G.K. Chesterson

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:31 PM
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Great question.

Just some random thoughts that may or may not relate to you.

1. Ride off-road when you get a chance (good gravel and surfaced roads are best). This will present you with less than ideal traction conditions and you may take a spill or two, (learn a lot) way better than dropping it on the street in traffic.

2. Ride defensively, understand that cagers are mentally 'programed' to look for cars but bikes dont always register in their field of view. This means being very 'obvious' especially where there may be on-coming drivers making left turns in front of you. Hi-Beam (or flashing high beam) during daytime is 'ok'...anything that makes you more visible is good (loud mufflers are not a safety device...by the time they hear you it is too late).

3. In the same vein of #2 the habit of 'cover 2'...in traffic..keeping 2 fingers loose on the front break lever can be a good idea, its simple, doesnt take any real effort, and reduces your reaction time.

4. A small thing...I adjust the rear break light to come on early, before the break is actually applied. This lets me 'ride' the break light whenever I want to signal to the motorist behind me I am slowing. Bikes have way more engine braking than cars, so best to signal you are slowing.

I am also an AZ versys owner, it looks like there are a few on the Forum. See you down the road!

T
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 07:57 PM
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My humble suggestion is to take a class. I'm slightly further down the road than you with 25000 miles but still have lots to learn. I took the BRC and ERC, bought lots of books and watched lots of videos, but my riding really came on leaps and bounds last year when I took an advanced class. There really is a world of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it and it takes an experienced eye to tell you where you are going wrong.

I don't think the actual class you take matters too much. Try to take them all! Some will work better for you than others. Just keep soaking in all that they teach you.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puttman View Post
Great question.

3. In the same vein of #2 the habit of 'cover 2'...in traffic..keeping 2 fingers loose on the front break lever can be a good idea, its simple, doesnt take any real effort, and reduces your reaction time.

T
Point 3 is a really good way to ride and just to add what i do as well, have moved my front brake lever down so this makes me roll off throttle before braking. In a emergency situation some riders may apply a good control front brake but still have a hand full of throttle then they panic and let go of throttle and brake as they hear engine revving. Thats my set up for hard twisty rides or a track.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 09:09 PM
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You sound like an eager teenager, no?

Advice I would give would be tempered by age. If you are really young I would recommend chilling out and finding some riding partners and put time in with them.

That said...
I don't like classes, never have. Everything I've learned I've done so by doing. I read and apply. Practice, pay attention, learn feedback from your bike, what is it trying to tell you? Getting in tune and one with the machine is what keeps you safe and performing.

When you push the envelope you increase the risk of crashing. I still don't like blind sweeper corners and will generally slow for them. Most exerienced riders will keep the speed up and just assume (or hope) there's nothing in their path as they come through the corner. Scrub off your speed before you get to the corner, accellerate out. Don't come in too hot and then realize you need to brake in the middle - it's too unsafe. Fine for roadracing but not for street. The versys is easy to ride twisties because it has so much engine braking. Braking hard into corners tells me I'm pushing too hard. Many sport riders like to ride that way, braking hard, leaning to the pegs, and keeping the speed up. There's too little margin for error there, not enough cushion to make corrections. Hard cornering requires a lean forward and into the corner, elbows out, the attack position.

Target fixation - happens when you look at obstacles or hazzards. Increases the likelyhood that you'll hit them. Look where you want to go, look through your corner, and focus. That will bring you through.

The verysys notchy trans responds well to pressure on the shifter, when you pull the clutch it instantly shifts - quietly and smoothly as well.

Practice weighting into your corners as you look over the inside grip. See what it takes to change your lean angle and alter your track through corners. Learn what it takes to get the bike to go where you want when you want it too. You'll be faster and safer.

Always make sure your kick stand is down before you lean the bike over on it. I am always amazed at how many drop their bikes at a standstill or in their garage. Sheesh! You have to stay focused on what you're doing around motorcycles. As soon as your attention strays or your focus weakens - BAM! you're going get it.

The very best thing you can do is get an experienced buddy or a group and ride with them. Most are willing to help you with finer points if you don't act all cocky and know-it-all, or ride stupid and create a danger for them. No one wants to ride with squids - somebody that endangers themselves and puts everyone else at risk, so you end up having to rescue them, or call their relatives to tell them you're laid up in the hospital or dead.

Always keep a look out and watch for crazy drivers. I was at a stop light last Friday, I always cut to the front and ride ahead of cars. But I looked before shooting out on the green and sure enough a car came barreling through. If I had shot off at the green I would have been t-boned. Everyone around the intersection was just shaking their head.

Always leave an out in traffic. A hole to jump into, a zip ahead, dodge, or otherwise avoid someone invading your space. My preferrence is to move through traffic, keeping ahead of and not beside other vehicles. You have to watch behind when you slow or stop to make sure some idiot isn't going to run into you.

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Great suggestions!

Chris and Kiwi - AWESOME SUGGESTIONS! See, I do most of this, but just needed to see it in writing from the mouths of other riders to know exactly what I was doing and then be able to keep doing it. Chris, sorry but not an eager teen. I tell everyone I meet who wants to ride (especially scooters these days) to be driving a car for at least 10 years before they ride so they are better suited for understanding what traffic is doing and why. So not an eager teenager, just eager.

I hadn't leaned over my turns until a day or two ago and it seems to work better than just leaning along with the bike. It feels safer somehow. Also, I really like the idea of rewiring my brake light to light up earlier. I flash my brakes sometimes at people and it would be nice to be able to do this without really riding the brakes, especially with the engine braking the Versys has!

LittleRider

"Ad augusta per angusta" ... "To great places by way of narrow roads"

"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered" -- G.K. Chesterson

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Last edited by LittleRider; 02-02-2011 at 10:19 PM.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by puttman View Post
Great question.

Just some random thoughts that may or may not relate to you.

1. Ride off-road when you get a chance (good gravel and surfaced roads are best). This will present you with less than ideal traction conditions and you may take a spill or two, (learn a lot) way better than dropping it on the street in traffic.

2. Ride defensively, understand that cagers are mentally 'programed' to look for cars but bikes dont always register in their field of view. This means being very 'obvious' especially where there may be on-coming drivers making left turns in front of you. Hi-Beam (or flashing high beam) during daytime is 'ok'...anything that makes you more visible is good (loud mufflers are not a safety device...by the time they hear you it is too late).

3. In the same vein of #2 the habit of 'cover 2'...in traffic..keeping 2 fingers loose on the front break lever can be a good idea, its simple, doesnt take any real effort, and reduces your reaction time.

4. A small thing...I adjust the rear break light to come on early, before the break is actually applied. This lets me 'ride' the break light whenever I want to signal to the motorist behind me I am slowing. Bikes have way more engine braking than cars, so best to signal you are slowing.

I am also an AZ versys owner, it looks like there are a few on the Forum. See you down the road!

T

^^^ That's all really good advice...

Do you know how to counter-steer? Rather, do you counter-steer instinctively? That "skill" is really important.

My philosophy: Ride as if you are INVISIBLE--expect that no one sees you, EVER, and prepare accordingly.

Go riding with, fellowship with, more experienced riders whenever you can.

I, literally, have thousands of hours riding/racing in the dirt, and I'm closing in on 400,000 street miles over just about 30 years and I am still learning and getting "better" every day...IMO, that's one of the things that makes what we do so...so...so...so...cool (for lack of a better word).
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 10:43 PM
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It isn't so much total miles as it is type of riding during those miles and how much you were paying attention. 10K miles done on a mostly straight slab commuting with very little other riding and just "getting it done" is not going to teach you nearly as much as 2K miles done in varying road conditions with some twisties over various roads in from good pavement to poorly maintained pavement to gravel when you are really paying attention to what is going on.

When I rode in high school I was paying attention and trying to get better (okay, faster). I'd ride over a section of road, turn around, ride it the other direction and then repeat a few times until I understood how to handle each curve, each section of washboard, or whatever. By the time I stopped riding to go back to college I was, I feel, a very proficient rider. I could handle anything and everything thrown at me.

Sadly, 30 years later, a lot of rust has accumulated on those skills but I am using the very same technique to knock off the rust.

I just finished Proficient Motorcycling and then More Proficient Motorcycling and that really helped remind me of a lot of stuff I had forgotten.

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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 11:40 PM
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Just a point my wife made about riding my Versys, she reckons its idiot proof and will just go around a corner on auto as its so nimble unlike her C50 Boulevard which is like a truck to bring around corners, in her opinion even if you make a mistake there is a lot of forgivness there to correct.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 11:52 PM
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You have alot of recommendations of other now I will give you mine two cents. Practice, practice, and more practice. I recommend doing alot of your practice in open areas such as parking lots. REHEASE many different senarios in your mind and what action you would do if the situation occurred. Ride with people that have many years of experience and are not trying to show off. Just make sure your mentor or your teacher is not teaching you bad habits.
Always assume the cars don't see you. Put yourself in the least dangerous place in traffic and if you can find a different route that is less traveled. Wear protective gear always No EXCEPTIONS. Slow down on blind corners, slow down on terrian that your not familiar with. Just know you have the most space on the road which makes you the smallest object on the road as well. Don't get overly confident, maintain a level head and always be alert and be assertive when nesicary. When you can ride in a group don't try to out perform your riding buddy-respect his space. Always let the better rider have the lead. You might want at times durning the trip ask the more experience rider to let you lead for some time just so he can watch you and see how you can improve. But the best thing is practice and more practice. Find areas that are not so busy. Good luck and may God bless you in your travels.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:55 AM
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Hi Little R

I am in the same boat as you - I have had the bike for about 15 months, 6 of which have been winter.

I signed up for Advanced Rider Training in March at RoadCraft Motorcycle Academy.

I hope this will loft me to the next level

Although I have had Miss Jaffa (Burnt Orange 2007 Versys) for a while, I still have a lot to learn.


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