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all over the road

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by emsie, Aug 5, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I have a question about the way my bike has been feeling the last couple of times I got on (which is doing nothing for my confidence, I tells ya what).

    At the moment, my bike feels a whole lot like its drifting on the road. When I'm going straight, I feel a little like I'm being pushed around by wind (no wind at the time) and on corners I dunno .. I just feel like I'm not stable.

    I know the bike's not been dropped or anything like that. My suspicion is that when I check my tyre pressure before I go for a ride tomorrow, that it'll show its a bit low. Would low pressure cause that kind of feeling, and if I check the pressure tomorrow and find its normal, what else should I be looking for?

    Em :)
  2. Hi Em.

    If the tyres are low your bike can handle on the weird side.
    Has the chain been adjusted recently? If it the rear wheel axle has been moved unevenly it can throw the alignment out. That's all I can think of atm.

  3. I know your knew... so I'll keep it quick. YOUR NEW. It takes time to learn how to control a bike... Check you tyre pressures if you must, and while your there go over the bike and check everything... As for the lolling from side to side Its balance... but you really have to look where your going and trust the bike it will follow... after some time you will get used to it... ITS target fixation...

    Is this happening at low speed? less than 40? or after 60?
  4. ward_4e, this is different to anything I've ever felt on my bike.. I've ridden it enough to have confidence on it, at the very least going in a straight line, but it feels like I'm being moved around the lane or .. maybe even that's what it feels like on the white lines? I've been so paranoid about how it feels that I've checked more than once to see if the tyres are dead flat!

    G, nothing's been moved or adjusted - I've been a bit lax on the maintenance side which is why I'm checking my tyre pressure before I do anything tomorrow anyways.
  5. also, some days you can just feel crap on the bike.
    i have been on a ride where i feel part of the bike on the way there and then feel completely alien for the return trip.
    a process of elimination, starting with your interface with the road (your tyres) is a good start though.
    failing anything mechanical it may just be a matter of practice and patience
  6. If this is something that the bike wasn't doing last week, look into it till you find a problem.

    Tyres are always a good start, they can do the strangest things to a bike.

    If you are a new rider, new riders tend to corner slowly and brake a lot. This will give a slightly flat surface on the centre of the tyre. (centre line)

    It sort of gives an edge on the tyre to roll over as the bike starts to lean and gives a "wobbly" kind of effect. other characteristics of a front tyre worn like this is very difficult to ride straight at low speeds. (5 kp/h)

    Good luck, hope you get it sorted or get used to rideing it, what ever the case may be.
  7. Well from my experiance, CHECK the trye pressures, to start with, if you dont ride hard is the tyre 'squared off' ? this can cause shit, have you checked wheel bearings??? head stem bearings???
  8. Without seeing the bike (new VTR!!!! nice) or your riding style its most probably a centering issue on straights or your off leaning through corners both are really experence problems...

    ??? riding as if you are being blown around.... its slow speed city urban riding and your being shunted around? very wierd. The force required to move you on you bike whike riding at slow speed really isnt much.

    Its a physical push? or a east west across the tank / bike loling back and forth feeling?
  9. +1 to all the above.

    More likely to be tyre pressures than anything else, pressures way off cause the bike to do all sorts of strange stuff. Worn tyres also tend to follow ridges in the road, making the bike feel like it's wandering.

    If nothing else has changed, check the front and rear tyre pressures (use a good gauge, or one you trust, try to avoid servo gauges) and compare to the recommended pressures.

    Good luck!
  10. We're ripping out words that this newbie doesn't know yet, so I'm sure hoping its something easy to fix myself :) To give a little context also, my bike's done about 1200k's (I've done about 100 of those if I'm lucky). The tyres are past the shiny bit, but that's about it (thanks be to demo bikes!). Not sure I've ridden it enough to get the squaring off that I've read about on here though I have spent a lot more time concentrating on "right speed for a corner" and "right gear for a speed" .. neither of which I would've thought would do bad things to a bike :shock:

    Methinks if I can't figure out what's doing it (or if I want a paranoia check on whether I'm imagining it), I will end up taking it back to the dealer for their input. Still got a 2 year warranty on it :grin:
  11. Hey Emsie,

    Lots of people buy their 1st bike in winter!

    If the bikes that new, the tyres that shiny then it won't be wear and (puncture aside) won't be pressures (he says, making huge assumptions).

    Has anything changed? Have you added anything?

    There are many reasons that might explain what your feeling, the things above some of them. But, if nothing has changed and the bike is fundamentally new, then it might just be something different that you're doing.

    Do you have someone you trust with experience and a licence that can test ride your bike for you?

    A friend of mine (with a VTR250) had real problems a couple of months into her licence, almost reporting exactly the same things you did. Said it didn't 'feel right', like 'somethings loose'. I rode the bike and loved it! I was happy there was nothing wrong and I think it just turned out to be a process where she was learning the bike and reached a point where she was now asking it do things differently.

    By all means, take it to the dealer and get them to do a nuts and bolts check, but it might just be that you're getting better!
  12. ward_4e, its not like a being shunted around feeling, like with wind, you have to actively keep it in a straight line doing 60. This is more like keeping a vague wobble at bay like I'm riding on something slippery which, if it was something slippery, is on every part of the lane I tried in case I was stuck in ruts, on lines, in oil, on shiny patchy bits etc etc. The ride to my new job is through the city, which means doing 50-60 most of the way. The two times I've noticed it the most, I've been doing 50 and 50, accelerating to 60 and then still there at 60. At the time I was doing 60, I noticed I actually WAS on some shiny patchy bits in the road and when I moved off them, I noticed it did lessen a little, but still not enough for my liking :)

    It may well just be an experience thing - I know its not the target fixation type of thing at least though - it definitely FEELS like a tyre pressure thing (or something that might feel like that), or maybe I just don't have the same amount of balance I did when I first jumped on (or maybe just didn't notice this cos I was too busy learning the absolute basics!). Either way though, I'm appreciating the feedback from everyone :)
  13. Quite obvious suggestion, but nonetheless, how is the chain tension adjustment in the bike. if the rear wheel is not lined up correctly (count the notches on either side of the rear wheel), you can overcompensate all you like but the bike is going to wander... (and don't count the greasemonkeys to do it properly (with the highest possible respect to the _good_ mechanics out there, like cops, for every good one there is a shit one.))
  14. instantexpert (and anyone else), out of interest, how often does chain tension have to be checked? I don't particularly trust the dealer I got the bike from, or the service it was meant to have before I took delivery of it, so if I've had this bike for 2 months (and its about 11 months old), am I likely to see things out of sorts with the chain? *adds counting notches to the list of checks tomorrow*
  15. On the swingarm there's a picture of how to measure the chain wear. Simply, at various points in the chains movement, measure the amount you can move the chain up and down. Generally, 25-35mm is acceptable. A chain can wear at different points along it's length, so take the measurements at different places.
  16. Well number 1 keep safe, take it to teh dealer and explain the problem. Its most likley an alignment or body positioning causing a squim when you accelerate \ decelerate. But as I said keep safe get the bike checked.

    Oh... I know it sound dumb but you could get a bike friend to folow you on you travels and get them to watch the bike and you for when it happens. As it happens dont panic just tap the front brake twice... tap dont engage this triggers the light and your friend can make a mental note...

    if he / she can see the bike become unstable then you can begin to trace the brobelm.

    good luck emsie
  17. I like to lube the chain every 300ks or so, and since I put the new chain on (about 4-5 months/5000kms ago) I've only had to adjust the chain once. It helps to check the chain tension while you lube it, but if you forget to check occasionally, it's no worry. (and I should mention, check it at sever points, and adjust it from the tightest measurement, though not too tight, just enough to be servicable)
  18. dont trust the notches on your swingarm, they are generic cast crap and are hardly ever right.

    from the problem you have described it is pretty much gonna be your tyres being under inflated, even a few psi will make a hell of a difference to the way the bike handles, it feel like it is twitching side to side under you and will pick up in every minor ripple and rut in the road,

    check your pressures and i bet they will be at least 4-6 psi down on recommended,

    you need to check tyre presure at least once a week depending on how often you ride.
  19. Well, I tried checking the tyre pressure with my new, out of the packet oxford pressure guage and when it claimed about 38 psi in my front tyre (cold), I chose to ignore it with my only other option at the moment sadly being the servo. Rode out to breakfast, then dropped by a servo on the way home (not one of those BP automated jobbies). The tyres didn't feel much more than lukewarm to the touch so I figured whilst they're warm, they're not hot. According to the servo, I had 30 psi in the front tyre and about 33-34 in the rear (meant to be 29/front, 32/rear).

    I also rode like I was imagining that I was feeling something, instead of concentrating on what I felt on the bike. Made a bit of difference - I was less nervous and happier to just go about riding, but I still felt something so I reckon I'll take it back to the dealer to get the tyres checked properly and just double check stuff. Thanks a million for your help here guys - I appreciate the feedback :)
  20. Tyre Pressure

    Just on that i test rode a bike for a mate about a month ago. Had o fight it in corners. Was the tyre pressure its always a good place to start. Makes a huge difference