Dropping the bike - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Dropping the bike

So, just for the record I already dropped the bike a couple of weeks ago before I even joined this forum.

Needless to say, dropping a brand new bike is ... well ... horrible.

Thankfully both the bike and I survived unscathed.

The bike has a scratch on the left handlebar tip but that's it.

However, of all the bad things I imagined would happen on a bike, dropping it in my driveway, while backpedalling out of my parking spot, wasn't on top of my list.

Surprise suprise (or maybe not) the bike is a dream to manouver at any speed above 10 mph.

The closer the speed gets to 0 the more I get the feeling that "it's dropping".

At zero walking it forward or backwards, I really feel like the bike wants to get on the ground.

Granted, I have had the bike for 3 weeks at most ... and I am NOT an experienced rider.

Also, I'm getting Barkbusters, rigid side bags and an engine protector cage.

So if I drop it again, the bike should be ok.

But my question remains: is it just me being a total n00b? or is the Versys really naturally tricky to handle in tight spots for everyone, regardless of experience?

And don't worry about offending me. If I'm a noob, I'm a noob.

Totally fine.

For the record (so you can see what happened):


Yes, the bike is ok.

And so am I.

Or maybe I'm just "traumatized" about dropping it and now I'm paranoid about it.

Dunno ...
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 06:58 PM
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Know how you feel. Sometimes just a small mental lapse can end in a drop or such. Sometimes i don't sit on the bike to back it up i walk it into position. Below is a day i was having once.


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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 07:27 PM
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Hey I.R., we've most all 'bin there, mine was on grass, then hooligans got hold of her and upset it on ashphalt.

Still hurts to watch it happen.
It's like sloooow mooootion.

Red light runners?We got 'em here too.

Weljo, you were very "lucky" that day!


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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:00 PM
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The slow speed riding is a little tricky, even more tricky if you have a loaded top box. It is not a natural thing to ride real slow and steady, some effort is needed to get it to appear like you are a pro rider.

When I took my big bike license test, there was a section of the test that test your ability to ride slow and straight. You are given about 1' wide 'bridge' which was elevated above the ground by about 2" and the length of the bridge is about 15m. You pass this section by being able to spend at least 7 seconds on it and without coming off the bridge or putting your foot down. After much practice, it was real easy. And it does help in the real world, as I could balance the bike at almost zero speed and yet don't place my foot down.

It's a matter of practice. I am sure you can do it.

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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 08:10 PM
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The secret of creeping slow riding in a straight line is to try to only use your rear brakes. Keep the revs high and add required power with the clutch. Standing up can sometimes help.

That's what riding with police riders rubbed off.

Why do we fall? So we can get back up. Don't worry, keep at it....

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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 09:43 PM
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Hi I.R.

Sorry to hear about your sweet bike getting dropped. I am a brand new rider as well and I have had two near drops and both times in very similar circumstances - walking the bike slowly backwards. I managed to hold it both times and with a bit of effort lifted the bike back into balance, but it has made me think about what I could do differently. Someone with more experience may correct me but here a few observations...

I noticed in your video the bike went down very fast suggesting maybe your left foot was on the peg and not on the ground when you lost balance? Also you turned the bars to full lock without turning your head to look in the direction you wanted to go which I think helps even when walking the bike.

Using the front brake probably didn't help. You could have probably avoided using any brake at that point. And as Stlee29 said, the back brake and clutch (with increased revs) combined are better for low speed stability & manoeuvring.

Perhaps while you are getting used to riding it is best to avoid starting from a stop with the bars at full lock?

It also looked like you mounted the bike using the left footpeg? Is the seat height an issue?

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Begbiie
I noticed in your video the bike went down very fast suggesting maybe your left foot was on the peg and not on the ground when you lost balance?
I don't think so but ... you may be right. It happened pretty fast I am suspecting that I was trying to put the bike in gear and so my left foot might have come off the ground and when I put it back down it was too late and the bike was already falling.

Quote:
Also you turned the bars to full lock without turning your head to look in the direction you wanted to go which I think helps even when walking the bike.
I wasn't planning to move ... yet.

Quote:
Using the front brake probably didn't help.
Nope, not one bit.

Quote:
You could have probably avoided using any brake at that point. And as Stlee29 said, the back brake and clutch (with increased revs) combined are better for low speed stability & manoeuvring.
True ... although, again, I wasn't really plan to move yet. I got distracted enough (by the gear shifter I suppose) that I allowed the bike enough time to make plans on her own ... and ... well, it went splat.

Quote:
Perhaps while you are getting used to riding it is best to avoid starting from a stop with the bars at full lock?
Good idea. I do have to admit that the bike is at its worst (stability wise) when the bars are turned ... the more turned they are, the more jittery the bike feels.

Quote:
It also looked like you mounted the bike using the left footpeg? Is the seat height an issue?
Good observation.

I'm 6 foot and my inseam is 32. When stopped my legs are fully extended if I want to touch down with my soles and not just my toes.

I thought I was tall enough for the bike but the bike feels (to be honest with you) really tall.

Maybe I just need to get used to it. I don't know.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 09:56 PM Thread Starter
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PS:

Now i don't feel so bad ... thanks to your replies and also ... check these guys out:



They are beating the crap out of these bikes and the bikes seem ... well ... just fine.

I guess the Versys is supposed to be a tank?

Not that I plan to try it any time soon but ... at least this is a good example of how to pick up the bike without hurting your back (I did hurt my back when I picked it up ... I didn't pick it up the way these guys are doing ...).
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 10:00 PM
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I have owned a Versys for 3.5 years now. It went down about three times the first year or so. All of those times the speed was zero. One of them was backing just the way you were.

I have not changed any technique (that I can tell) when moving slowly, but the bike has not gone down for some time now. I really think that it just takes some practice.

It is good that the Versys does not get very damaged when it falls. In fact, that was one of the selling points that the salesman pointed out as I was looking for my first bike. I am glad I chose the Versys.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 10:27 PM
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There's another way to lift them bikes on their sides.

Here is what was taught at BMW riding course.
We got a BMW 1200 Adv on her sides having a tires below.

1. Position yourself the low side the bike has dropped.
2. Lock the handlebar to the other side away from you till it locks.
3. Lift up the handlebar, the rest will follow.
4. Put the side stand down ( if you haven't).

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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 11:34 PM
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My personal experience in doping the V.

Most of the time the bike goes down because we are not seeing where we want to go. Keep your eyes focused on the motion/point and be rest assured the bike will not drop.-IMHO.

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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-03-2011, 11:37 PM
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I have also droped my beloved Versys more than once. Each time at a stop or moving very slow. I am a newer rider and a momentary lapse of attention and or lack of experience have been part of each drop. 3 of the drops where in the dirt and 1 in a parking lot. I think its important to reflect on such incidents and learn all you can from them. Regardless of fault, there something to learn and not repeat.

I installed SW Motech Crashbars and Barkbuster Handguards, as soon as I got my bike. I have had no damage other than minor scrapes to the Handguards and Crashbars, and some minor scrapes to the backside of my mirror from the dirt and rocks. I believe the crashbars and handguards have paid for themselves.

My bike was a little tall for me when I first got it. I have since lowered it and I feel much more solid with at least one flat foot on the ground (I am 5'.7").

I have used the same method as the guys in the video from Thailand. I place my back to the bike. One hand gripping the downside handlebar and the other hand gripping the rear hand rail. It was tough last weekend with bags straped on but ive allways managed by myself. I really like the kickstand being extended before lifting. I will not forget that one.

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastoman View Post
My personal experience in doping the V.

Most of the time the bike goes down because we are not seeing where we want to go. Keep your eyes focused on the motion/point and be rest assured the bike will not drop.-IMHO.

I wasn't planning to move at that time but ... yes I was looking down.

And the bike went down.

And the bike goes where you look.

And you guys all have more experience than me, so I shouldn't question that statement anymore.



So, what I'm hearing is: even if I am standing still, don't look down ... look up and the bike stays up.

I'll resist the temptation to look down and I'll see how that works.

I did notice yesterday that I tend to look at the stop sign maker on the ground when I'm stopping to make sure I stop ON it.

It's not a big deal with the car but on a bike ... I get the feeling that the instability I feel at stop signs is self-inflicted by the fact that I look down.

I think they even said that at the MSF course, indirectly when we were practicing the emergency stops at the cones: when you need to stop, use your peripheral vision to judge where to stop but look straight up, don't look at the cones or the bike will go to cones and ... to the ground..

That's another muscle memory thing I need to fix ... apparently.

Thanks!!
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italian Rider View Post
I wasn't planning to move at that time but ... yes I was looking down.

And the bike went down.

And the bike goes where you look.

And you guys all have more experience than me, so I shouldn't question that statement anymore.



So, what I'm hearing is: even if I am standing still, don't look down ... look up and the bike stays up.

I'll resist the temptation to look down and I'll see how that works.

I did notice yesterday that I tend to look at the stop sign maker on the ground when I'm stopping to make sure I stop ON it.

It's not a big deal with the car but on a bike ... I get the feeling that the instability I feel at stop signs is self-inflicted by the fact that I look down.

I think they even said that at the MSF course, indirectly when we were practicing the emergency stops at the cones: when you need to stop, use your peripheral vision to judge where to stop but look straight up, don't look at the cones or the bike will go to cones and ... to the ground..

That's another muscle memory thing I need to fix ... apparently.

Thanks!!
Work on the Muscle Memory thing more often and if you want to make a dead stop on stop sign , make your move much earlier before you arrive at the stop sign. Get it focused and you will stop without any problem. The bike goes where you see or where you eyes set sight.

here is another example: if your have a pot hole in front and want to avoid it, dont look at the pot hole but at the space beside the pot hole. If you look at the pot hole then you are done no matter how much you try to avoid it and yes it like the cones..

Safe ride and ATGATT.

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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 08:50 AM
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[QUOTE=Grandpa Ron;176670]Hey I.R., we've most all 'bin there, mine was on grass, then hooligans got hold of her and upset it on ashphalt.

Still hurts to watch it happen.
It's like sloooow mooootion.




uh huh Grandpa Ron Regards, Grandpa Rik
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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italian Rider View Post
I'm 6 foot and my inseam is 32. When stopped my legs are fully extended if I want to touch down with my soles and not just my toes. I thought I was tall enough for the bike but the bike feels (to be honest with you) really tall.
I don't think height is your problem. I'm 5'7" (30" inseam) and ride a V with a Soft Bottom gel pad on top of the seat.

Personally, I think messing around with cameras is a potentially dangerous distraction...and an especially bad idea for new riders. In many cases accidents happen when riders are distracted.
Perhaps you will want to leave the camera at home until you get more experience.

Also, it looks like the bike is parked awfully close to the house. Moving a bike away from a confined parking spot is difficult. Perhaps you will want to consider moving the bike to a more open location before mounting.

Lastly, remember that developing riding skills takes time and practice. A riding course from a qualified teacher is quite helpful for most people. In fact, riding classes for experienced riders provide new insights and help identify bad habits.

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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlestonADV View Post
I don't think height is your problem. I'm 5'7" (30" inseam) and ride a V with a Soft Bottom gel pad on top of the seat.

Personally, I think messing around with cameras is a potentially dangerous distraction...and an especially bad idea for new riders. In many cases accidents happen when riders are distracted.
Perhaps you will want to leave the camera at home until you get more experience.

Also, it looks like the bike is parked awfully close to the house. Moving a bike away from a confined parking spot is difficult. Perhaps you will want to consider moving the bike to a more open location before mounting.

Lastly, remember that developing riding skills takes time and practice. A riding course from a qualified teacher is quite helpful for most people. In fact, riding classes for experienced riders provide new insights and help identify bad habits.
The camera is mounted on my helmet. Once it's on, I don't see it, look at it, touch it or even be aware that it's there (unless someone in a pick up truck points it out to me that is) ... once I am on the bike, I don't even remember it's there.

But all your other points are valid.

In fact, come spring, I plan to take the Experienced MSF course where you get to take your own bike and re-do all the drills I already did in the MSF course, in my bike instead.
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 10:05 AM
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Wear protection if you're really worried.

If you're really worried about dropping it again, pick up those barkbusters and the SW motech engine guards. You'll have trouble damaging it from a drop with those on.
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 10:06 AM
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Been there and I also have a 2011 Versys. I went down twice both at 0-5mph.

First was my fault, I over compensated a correction on a down hill thick gravel road. Second I stopped suddenly when a cat ran behind my front tire and it froze while I was doing a slow turn out of my driveway.

It hurts a bit on a low emotional but I've come to the conclusion that:

a) it will happen sooner or later and the best I can do is try to mitigate the damage to the bike and myself (both times I managed to do no more than scratch the plastic and bust the tip off a lever because I was controlling the drop speed as best as I could)

b) The versys seems to be very drop resistant. Most of the damage from the low speeds I did centered on the clutch/brake lever itself and the bar ends. With some minor plastics scratches

Thankfully both parts are easy to replace and not costly. Scratched plastics big whoop. Since I don't plan on trading this bike in or selling it to someone they are my scratches and serve as reminders to practice safer riding. If that changes I have the replacements plastics in the closet collecting dust. Although it did reaffirm both times that I need to order some crash guards (still deciding which ones and I really need to make that decision). Putting the lowering kit on it would also help me get rid of that "sheesh this thing is top heavy feeling" which I am slowly overcoming. Still get a bit nervous on super tight manuevers.

Last edited by MikeV; 11-04-2011 at 10:08 AM.
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 11-04-2011, 11:13 AM
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Tx for sharing your experiences, your attitude is great, that's half the battle.

I've been down a few times, me and V both have a couple of scars to prove it.

I look at them like badges of honor. Both remind me of great trips, despite having a spill (and in one case a quick trip to hospital to get my knee strapped up). Each time I see the scratch or the dent, just reminds me that nothing fun in life is 100% safe and the fun I've had out of this little machine, now with over 30,000miles on it is immeasurable.

Get a set of crash bars, I got H&B, so the spill doesn't stop you from making the rest of the trip. Both my spills were over 1000 miles from home and in both cases, I was able to keep going-even going further away from home.

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